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Determinants of vehicle-miles of travel in metropolitan areas : the effects of light rail transit and ridership

by Pratt-Otto, Samuel Hawkinson

Abstract

As VMT rises in many urban areas, the need for public transportation increases, whether it is to mitigate traffic congestion and emissions, or to provide the ease and affordability of public transportation. The construction of public rail lines in the United States was one response to these increases, and dates back to the end of the 19th century. Although it has been commonly assumed that adding or expanding public transportation is a driving variable contributing to changes in VMT, this study will address the effects of multiple variables on VMT including: population density, personal income, lane miles of road, fuel costs, employment density, and the availability of LRT (and other public transit systems). We examine under which circumstances public transportation and Light Rail Transit (LRT) is most attractive. A fixed effects regression model will be used to determine which of these variables have significant effects on VMT, and whether or not LRT implementation does indeed affect an urban area’s VMT. Having performed this analysis, it is our conclusion that LRT ridership does not significantly affect VMT. However, population density, personal income, and lane-miles of road are shown to have significant impacts on VMT.

Note

The author has given permission for this work to be deposited in the Digital Archive of Colorado College.

Colorado College Honor Code upheld.

Includes bibliographical references.

Administrative Notes

The author has given permission for this work to be deposited in the Digital Archive of Colorado College.

Colorado College Honor Code upheld.

Copyright
Copyright restrictions apply.
Publisher
Colorado College
PID
coccc:11101
Digital Origin
born digital
Extent
33 pages : illustrations
Thesis
Senior Thesis -- Colorado College
Thesis Advisor
Fullerton, Richard
Department/Program
Department of Economics and Business
Degree Name
bachelor
Degree Type
B.A.
Degree Grantor
Colorado College
Date Issued
2015-05