Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2016

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

Economics

First Advisor

Dr. Jonathan Hughes

Abstract

Most large cities face transit congestion due to increasing populations. Governments face trade-offs when determining which commuting infrastructure(s) to fund (e.g, public transit, HOV/HOT lanes, road expansion, etc.). A key question is whether commuters substitute across alternative commuting modes when new options are introduced. Substitution can happen because commuters may choose to minimize their travel time and therefore their time costs; in other words, commuters will choose the fastest route. A follow-up question is if commuters make their decision based on minimizing their transportation time. Using a framework that allows for empirical comparison between HOV/HOT lane openings and public transit rails, I find a negative relationship between public transit ridership and an HOV/HOT lane introduction. That is, when an HOV/HOT opens, my statistically significant results suggest that transit ridership for parallel transit lines will decrease approximately -4.69 to -4.76 percent.

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