Impact of TNC on travel behavior and mode choice: a comparative analysis of Boston and Philadelphia

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, place - urban, planning - surveys, planning - service improvement, planning - travel demand management, policy - parking, ridership - mode choice, ridership - behaviour, ridership - perceptions, land use - planning


Boston, Mixed logit, Philadelphia, Survey, TNC, Transit


We compare responses from an online survey among 700 customers of transportation network companies (TNC) in Boston and Philadelphia to investigate TNC’s impact on vehicle ownership, trip making, and mode choice. We first use a qualitative comparative analysis to examine changes in respondents’ travel behavior and vehicle ownership after adopting TNC. We then use a random parameter logit regression analysis to investigate customers’ preferences between transit and TNC based on a choice experiment. We find that in both cities, TNC allows customers, including those who currently do not own a car, to either delay purchasing a car or forgo a car altogether. TNC enables customers across income levels to take trips that they otherwise would not have taken. Meanwhile, TNC substitutes for more than complementing transit. The random parameter logit analysis indicates that when choosing between TNC and transit, individuals in both cities consider waiting time and overall travel time for transit to be more burdensome than those for TNC. Bostonians perceive the time spent walking to and from transit to be less burdensome, and the time spent traveling in vehicle to be more burdensome than do Philadelphians. Differences in built environment, mode share within transit systems, and income likely contribute to respondents’ different values of time between the two cities. Our paper is the first to compare individual trade-off between transit and TNC in two cities with different urban settings and transit services. The findings have implications on transit service planning, station area improvements, parking regulations, and traffic management.


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