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Exploring factors affecting demand for possible future intercity transit options

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Increased intercity travel and consequent freeway congestion have made intercity transportation a big concern for planners and decision makers. Common rail-based solutions require high capital costs, and most existing modes face trade-offs between mobility and accessibility. An alternate solution could be High Speed Bus Transit (HSBT), an innovative intercity transit service proposed by the authors, that has high cruising speed on a freeway-dedicated lane and multiple terminals in the urban area. This paper is focused on modeling the mode choice behavior of individuals and identifying the significant factors influencing people’s choice of intercity travel mode. Furthermore, the feasibility and potential market of the proposed HSBT is also studied in competition with other intercity travel options such as drive, rail, regular bus and a demand-responsive shuttle service. To collect the data, an interactive stated preference survey was employed that estimates the respondent-specific attribute values in a real-time manner, customized to the individual information provided by the respondents. Such a process helps to present a choice set that reflects each individual’s travel context more realistically. The collected data showed that a transportation option with the characteristics of HSBT, that provides a fast, reliable, accessible, frequent and safe intercity travel, has the potential to take up a considerable market share, even larger than driving. Having applied a discrete choice model, the significant factors influencing the choice preference were recognized and the analysis results provided insightful findings toward intercity mode choice behavior and improving intercity transit services.

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The authors would like to thank the University of Arizona ATLAS (Advanced Traffic and Logistics Algorithms and Systems) research center for funding support. We are also grateful to the University of Arizona and Arizona State University students who helped with the data collection process and made this research possible.

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Correspondence to Andisheh Ranjbari.

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Ranjbari, A., Chiu, YC. & Hickman, M. Exploring factors affecting demand for possible future intercity transit options. Public Transp 9, 463–481 (2017).

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