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Marschak Colloquium: Brian Taylor

Apr 27 @ 1:00 pm-3:00 pm

“Nature and/or Nurture? Analyzing the Determinants of Public Transit Use Across U.S. Urbanized Areas”  Talk abstract  Public subsidy of transit services has increased dramatically in recent years, with little effect on overall ridership.  While a clear understanding of the factors influencing transit ridership is central to decisions on investments in and the pricing and deployment of transit services, the literature about the causes of transit use is quite spotty.  This study addresses shortcomings in the literature by (1) conducting a cross-sectional analysis of transit use in 265 US urbanized areas, (2) testing dozens of variables measuring regional geography, metropolitan economy, population characteristics, auto/highway system characteristics, and transit system characteristics, and (3) constructing two-stage simultaneous equation regression models to account for simultaneity between transit service supply and consumption. We find that most of the variation in transit ridership among urbanized areas ­ in both absolute and relative terms ­ can be explained by factors outside of the control of public transit systems.  While these external factors clearly go a long way toward determining the overall level of transit use in an urbanized area, we find that transit policies do make a significant difference.  The observed range in both fares and service frequency in our sample could account for at least a doubling (or halving) of transit use in a given urbanized area.  Controlling for the fact that public transit use is strongly correlated with urbanized area size, about 26% of the observed variance in per capita transit patronage across US urbanized areas is explained in our models by service frequency and fare levels.  The observed influence of these two factors is consistent with both the literature and intuition: frequent service draws passengers, and high fares drive them away.  Bioketch  Brian D. Taylor, FAICP  Brian Taylor is a Professor of Urban Planning, Director of the Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies, and Director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at UCLA.  His research centers on transportation policy and planning – most of it conducted in close collaboration with his students.   His work explores how society pays for transportation systems and how these systems in turn serve the needs of people who – because of low income, disability, location, or age – have lower levels of mobility.   Topically, his research examines travel behavior, transportation finance, and politics & planning.  His research on travel behavior has examined (1) the effect of travel experience on cognitive mapping, (2) how travel patterns vary by race/ethnicity, sex, age, and income, (3) the social, economic, and spatial factors explaining public transit use, (4) the role of walking, waiting, and transferring on travel choices, (5) the potential of bus rapid transit to cost-effectively increase transit use, and (6) alternative ways to evaluate the effects of traffic congestion on people and firms.  A principal focus of his research is the politics of transportation finance, including (1) the history of freeway planning and finance, (2) emerging trends in pricing road use, (3) the equity of alternative forms of finance, (4) linking of subsidies to public transit performance, and (5) measuring equity in public transit finance.   Related work has also examined the effect of political drivers on planning outcomes; such has how concerns over civil rights law, traffic congestion, terrorism, and climate change affect transportation policy and planning. Personal website: http://publicaffairs.ucla.edu/brian-d-taylor


Apr 27
1:00 pm-3:00 pm
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TBA Public Affairs Building
337 Charles E Young Dr East
Los Angeles, CA 90095 United States