SURTC Research Reports
With higher fuel costs and changing economic conditions, travel behavior and the level and allocation of resources in highways, rail, air, and transit service in rural areas, may be changing. The objective of this study is to determine the attitude of would-be passengers in their choice of mode and the factors determining their choice in rural and small urban areas. A stated preference survey was developed and administered to residents of North Dakota and northwest and west central Minnesota. The survey asked respondents to identify their mode of choice in different hypothetical situations where there were five modes available – automobile, air, bus, train, and van – under differing mode and trip characteristics. A multinomial logit model was used to estimate the likelihood that an individual would choose a given mode based on the characteristics of the mode, the characteristics of the individual, and the characteristics of the trip. Results show that travelers, especially those of lower income, respond to higher gasoline prices by choosing alternative modes in greater numbers, suggesting rural intercity bus, van, and rail ridership would increase if gasoline prices rose. Results also show that age, gender, income, transit experience, traveler attitudes, travel time, trip purpose, and party size affect mode choice.