, Volume 44, Issue 6, pp 1445–1473 | Cite as

Impacts of urban built environment on empty taxi trips using limited geolocation data

  • Wenbo Zhang
  • Satish V. UkkusuriEmail author
  • Jian John Lu


This study identifies the determinants of the empty taxi trip duration (ETTD) by combining three high-resolution databases—geolocation data in New York City, geodatabase of urban planning data, and transportation facilities data. Considering the nature of duration data, hazard-based duration model is proposed to explore the relationships between causal factors and ETTD, coupling with three variations of baseline hazard distribution, i.e., Weibull distribution with heterogeneity, Weibull distribution, and log-logistic. Furthermore, the likelihood ratio test is presented to implement comparisons of three baseline hazard distributions, as well as spatial and temporal transferability of causal factors. The results show significant complementary effects by subway system and competitive effects by city bus and bicycling system, as well as significant impacts of trip length, airport trip, average annual income, and employment rate. Urban built environment, for instance, density of road, public facilities, and recreational sites and ratio of green space, has various impacts on ETTD. The elasticity estimations confirm significant spatial and temporal heterogeneity in impacts on ETTD. In addition, the analysis on elasticity also reveals the considerable impacts of severe traffic congestion on ETTD within Manhattan. The modeling can assist stakeholders in understanding empty taxi movements and measuring taxi system efficiency in urban areas.


Empty taxi trip duration Hazard-based duration model Built environment Land use and socio-economics Spatial and temporal heterogeneity 



We thank the three anonymous reviewers for provided helpful comments on earlier draft of the manuscript. In addition, thank China Scholarship Council for funding to support Wenbo’s study and research.

Supplementary material

11116_2016_9709_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (49 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 48 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lyles School of Civil EngineeringPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  2. 2.School of TransportationTongji UniversityShanghaiChina

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