Commuter value perceptions in peak avoidance behavior: An empirical study in the Beijing subway system

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - asia, mode - subway/metro, ridership - behaviour, ridership - commuting, ridership - demand, ridership - modelling, ridership - perceptions, operations - crowding


Peak-avoidance, Perceived value, Beijing subway


Peak-avoidance has been suggested as a strategy to ease congestion and improve the travel experience in the road traffic system. However, commuters’ trade-offs when choosing whether to avoid the peak in the context of subway use have not yet been explored. In highly concentrated megacities, high demand during peak hours in the subway leads to long queues waiting to enter stations or platforms, as well as crowded trains, which yields highly negative externalities. This paper contextualizes and incorporates commuters’ perceived value as a theoretical basis to explain how perceived benefits and perceived sacrifices affect commuters’ intentions to avoid the peak in subway systems. A hybrid model was constructed to incorporate the perceived benefits and perceived sacrifices as latent variables to understand peak-avoidance behavior. Social norms, previous habits, and personal subjective feelings have significant impacts on subway commuters’ peak-avoidance decisions. In addition, our combined model improved the explanatory power compared to a traditional ordered logit model. The framework can be used as a theoretical basis for further development of behavioral research into commuters’ decision-making. Finally, these findings provide meaningful guidance for the government and subway companies to encourage travelers to avoid rush hours effectively.


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


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