Longer-Term Changes in Mode Choice Decisions in Chennai: A Comparison between Cross-Sectional and Dynamic Models

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

ridership - mode choice, ridership - forecasting, ridership - forecasting, ridership - demand


Under developed countries, Travel models (Travel demand), Travel demand, Travel behavior, Trade off analysis, Third world, Scenarios, Projections, Mode choice, Modal choice, Methodology, Methodologies, Madras (India), Less developed countries, Forecasting, Dynamic models, Developing countries, Cross sectional studies, Cross sectional analysis, Comparison studies, Choice of transportation, Choice models, Chennai (India), Alternatives analysis


Since many cities in India are experiencing rapid and continuing changes in travel and mobility needs, dynamic models for travel demand forecasting may be more appropriate than cross-sectional models. This paper investigates mode choice dynamics among workers in Chennai, India over a period of five years (1999–2004). Dynamics in mode choice are captured at four levels: exogenous variable change, state-dependence, changes in users’ sensitivity to attributes, and unobserved error terms. The performance of dynamic models compared with cross-sectional models was compared using two illustrative policy scenarios with important methodological and practical implications. The results show that the dynamic models provide a substantial improvement over the cross-sectional models. The cross-sectional models tend to provide inflated estimates of potential improvement measures. Findings also show that improving the level of service alone will not produce the anticipated benefits to transit agencies, as it fails to overcome the persistent inertia captured in the state-dependence factors. The findings from this study highlight the superiority of the dynamic model over the cross-sectional model and the need for rich dynamic data in the context of developing countries with significant changes in travel behavior over time. Suggestions for future research are provided.