Modelling the dynamics of bus use in a changing travel environment using panel data

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus rapid transit, operations - performance, place - europe, ridership - drivers


Travel mode choice, Dynamics, Panel data, Unobserved heterogeneity, State dependence, Initial conditions


Panel data offers the potential to represent the influence on travel choices of changing circumstances, past history and persistent individual differences (unobserved heterogeneity). A four-wave panel survey collected data on the travel choices of residents before and after the introduction of a new bus rapid transit service. The data shows gradual changes to bus use over the four waves, implying time was required for residents to become aware of the new service and to adapt to it. Ordered response models are estimated for bus use over the survey period. The results show that the influence of level of service (LOS) is underestimated if unobserved heterogeneity is not taken into account. The delayed response to the new service is able to be well represented by including LOS as a lagged variable. Current bus use is found to be conditioned on past bus use, but with additional influence of lagged LOS and unobserved heterogeneity. It is shown how different model specifications generate different evolution patterns with the most realistic predictions arising from a model which takes into account lagged responses to change in LOS and unobserved heterogeneity. The paper demonstrates the feasibility of developing panel data models that can be applied to forecasting the effect of interventions in the travel environment. Longer panels—encompassing periods of both stability and change—are required to support future efforts at modelling travel choice dynamics.


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