Preference heterogeneity in mode choice based on a nationwide survey with a focus on urban rail

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - australasia, place - urban, mode - rail, planning - surveys, planning - service quality, ridership - mode choice, economics - willingness to pay


Rail transit, Mode choice, Stated preference, Mixed logit, Wi-Fi, Laptop station


The provision of efficient and effective urban public transport and transport policy requires a deep understanding of the factors influencing urban travellers’ choice of travel mode. The majority of existing literature reports on the results from single cities. This study presents the results of a nationwide travel survey implemented to examine multiple modes of urban passenger transport across five mainland state capitals in Australia, with a focus of urban rail. The study aims to explore differences in mode choices among surveyed travellers sampled from the five cities by accounting for two types of factors: service quality and features of public transport, and socio demographic characteristics. A stated preference approach is adopted to elicit people’s valuation of specified mode-choice related factors and their willingness to pay. In particular, the availabilities of wireless and laptop stations – two factors rarely examined in the literature, were also considered in the SP survey. The survey data were analysed using mixed logit models. To test for preference heterogeneity, socio-demographic factors were interacted with random parameters, and their influences on marginal utilities simulated. The analysis reveals that intercity differences, user group status, gender, income, and trip purposes partially explain observed preference heterogeneity.


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


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