Will Rising Trip Productivity Change Travel Choices?

Monday, December 8, 2014 - 11:30am

About the Event

When deciding how to get from point a to point b, minimizing travel time is often the biggest factor. But what if being able to multitask while traveling alters that choice? Commuters might pick transit over an automobile—even if the transit alternative takes longer—if it allows them to use their travel time more productively. What’s more, recent advances in automated vehicle technology are poised to revolutionize how travel time is used and perceived, further blurring the role of travel as a crisp transition between activities.  

At the CTS Fall Luncheon, Patricia Mokhtarian discussed a mode-choice model that accounts for the impact of multitasking attitudes and behavior on the utility of various modes. The model shows that engaging in productive activities—such as using a smartphone or tablet—significantly influences the utility of travel, and could account for a small but non-trivial portion of the current mode shares.  

These changing behaviors could have big implications for transportation planning and policies: more people might choose longer commutes and gain access to more jobs, for example, but also consume more land and fuel. 


Patricia Mokhtarian Patricia Mokhtarianis a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She has specialized in the study of travel behavior for more than 35 years. Her key research interests include the impacts of land use on travel behavior, the impact of telecommunications technology on travel behavior, commuters’ responses to congestion or to system disruptions, attitudes toward mobility, and travel multitasking. She is a North American editor of Transportation and serves on the boards of six other transportation journals. She is the vice-chair/chair-elect of the International Association for Travel Behaviour Research.