Commuting to college: The effectiveness and social efficiency of transportation demand management policies

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe, place - urban, mode - bus, mode - car, policy - sustainable, policy - parking, policy - fares, policy - environment, economics - subsidy, planning - travel demand management


University students, TDM policies, Commuting, Social efficiency, Effectiveness


Commuting is the single largest impact a University has on the environment and represents a noticeable share of urban traffic, when the University is located within a city. There is a large amount of literature on which policies could reduce car use and improve the environmental and social sustainability of commuting to college. However, most studies focus, to the best of our knowledge, only on the effectiveness of such policies, disregarding their social efficiency, measured as the difference between the social costs and benefits. This paper presents an estimate of the effectiveness and the efficiency of nine hypothetical transport policies regarding the University of Trieste, Italy, on the basis of a transport demand model estimated via revealed and stated choice data. All policies but one are effective in reducing car use, but only six of them appear to be efficient. We find that fully subsidizing bus fares would be the most effective and efficient policy. However, it is doubtful whether fully subsidizing bus fares is financially sustainable. The second best policy would be a mix of bus subsidies and parking restrictions. In case of the University of Trieste, our model suggests the adoption of a policy mix based on a relatively low hourly parking tariff (€0.3 per hour) and the use of the parking revenues to subsidize the bus users. The methodology and the results presented in this paper can be used by the college Mobility Managers to design better transport policies.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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