Effects of energy price fluctuation on car-based individual activity-travel behavior

  • Yang D
  • Timmermans H
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In the transportation literature, the effects of energy price have been studied primarily in terms of their effects on aspects of travel behaviour, both in the short and long term. In the short term, people may adapt their driving style, departure time, travel mode choice, route choice and/or destination choice. But in the longer run people may consider buying a smaller or more efficient car. Unfortunately, compared to other triggers of behavioural change, the impact of energy prices has received only scant attention in the transportation community, perhaps due to a lack of relevant data. Most research has been conducted by economists mostly on the effect of fuel price on car ownership and car use. Far less attention has been paid to short term travel behaviour especially to the dynamics of people's daily travel patterns. To gain insight into this issue, a representative sample of individuals who use the car for traveling was used for revealing the complex interrelationships between people's activity-travel patterns and energy price. With a special focus on days of week difference, seemingly unrelated regression analysis was used to reveal the direct and indirect effects among endogenous and exogenous variables. The results indicate that the impacts of energy price on people's activity-travel patterns significantly differ between weekdays and weekends. In general, an increase in energy price tends to reduce total travel time, while within certain time constraints, different activities and trips compete for the "zero- sum" property of time. Since work and school related activities are mandatory, they are of the highest priority compared to other activities. Results indicated that duration of compulsory activity has considerable negative impacts on duration of maintenance and leisure activity. Further, maintenance activities tend to have higher priority than leisure activities, and the maintenance activity also has a negative impact on leisure activities due to their hierarchical priority level. © 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Activity-travel behavior
  • Energy prices
  • Simultaneous equation modeling

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  • Dujuan Yang

  • Harry Timmermans

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