Proactive sustainable university transportation: Marginal effects, intrinsic values, and university students' mode choice


Jiangping Zhou

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, place - universities, mode - car, mode - pedestrian, mode - bus, ridership - behaviour, ridership - mode choice, economics - subsidy, policy - sustainable


Intrinsic value, marginal effects, mode choice, sustainability, university students


In the United States, millions of university students drive alone to school. Therefore, decreasing driving alone and related car dependence among university students is as important as doing that among the general population. But how can we prioritize resources allocated to different possible and alternative actions? This article completes a case study to systematically single out different factors that influence university students' mode choice and quantify their marginal effects, which are regarded as important references for prioritizing actions. Los Angeles, a place notorious for its car dominance, is chosen as the site of the case study. It is argued that if we could succeed in promoting non-driving-alone (NDA) modes there, we should be able to do it elsewhere, at least in the US context. Based on statistical analyses and multinomial logit models, we find that (a) access to bus services and a subsidized transit pass can boost the usage of NDA modes; (b) commute time is significantly associated with the probability of using transit and a long commute time by transit does not necessarily reduce transit's utilities or intrinsic values; (c) male and/or undergraduate students are more likely to bike or walk to the campus than other students; (d) the top three factors that have the greatest marginal effects on mode choice are ownership of a subsidized transit pass, status (graduate vs. undergraduate), and gender. These results have important policy implications for designing and prioritizing mode-sensitive programs to promote the usage of NDA modes among university students.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Taylor&Francis, copyright remains with them.