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An analysis of individuals’ usage of bus transit in Bengaluru, India: Disentangling the influence of unfamiliarity with transit from that of subjective perceptions of service quality

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An analysis of individuals’ usage of bus transit in Bengaluru, India: Disentangling the influence of unfamiliarity with transit from that of subjective perceptions of service quality

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Abstract

This study presents an integrated model to shed light on the factors influencing individuals’ likelihood and frequency of usage of bus transit in Bengaluru, India, with a focus on the role of individuals’ subjective perceptions of service quality. Typically, subjective perceptions of transit service characteristics such as comfort, cleanliness, reliability, and safety are measured using Likert rating scale questions in travel surveys. A shortcoming with many such surveys is that the Likert rating scale questions do not include a “don’t know” response category for the respondents to express their unfamiliarity and lack of opinion on the transit service. For this reason, some respondents who are not familiar with and do not have an opinion about the transit system are likely to choose the neutral response to Likert scale questions. At the same time, travelers who are familiar with and/or informed about the transit system may also choose the neutral response to state their opinion neutrality. As a result, some travelers’ unfamiliarity with (and lack of opinion about) transit services may be confounded with the informed perceptions of those who are familiar with transit. This is because those who are unfamiliar with the transit system are less likely to use it and more likely to state neutral responses than those who are familiar with the system. Ignoring such influence of travelers’ unfamiliarity can potentially distort the ordinal scale of Likert variables, result in biased parameter estimates and distorted implications about the influence of perceptions on transit usage. To address this concern, this study uses a generalized heterogeneous data model (GHDM) that allows a joint econometric analysis of the influence of individuals’ perceptions of transit service quality on their likelihood of transit use and frequency of use and at the same time disentangle unfamiliarity from informed perceptions. The empirical results shed light on: (a) the role of individuals’ demographic variables and subjective perceptions on their use and frequency of use of the bus transit system in Bengaluru, (b) the importance of separating unfamiliarity from informed opinions on transit service quality, (c) the need to include an option for respondents to reveal their unfamiliarity in Likert rating scale survey questions on perceptions, and (d) demographic segment-specific strategies for attracting new riders and enhancing ridership of current users of the bus transit system in Bengaluru.

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This paper proposes that when optimally answering a survey question would require substantial cognitive effort, some repondents simply provide a satisfactory answer instead. This behaviour, called satisficing, can take the form of either (1) incomplete or biased information retrieval and/or information integration, or (2) no information retrieval or integration at all. Satisficing may lead respondents to employ a variety of response strategies, including choosing the first response alternative that seems to constitute a reasonable answer, agreeing with an assertion made by a question, endorsing the status quo instead of endorsing social change, failing to differentiate among a set of diverse objects in ratings, saying ‘don't know’ instead of reporting an opinion, and randomly choosing among the response alternatives offered. This paper specifies a wide range of factors that are likely to encourage satisficing, and reviews relevant evidence evaluating these speculations. Many useful directions for future research are suggested.
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Understanding the behavioral intentions of public transit passengers is important, because customer loyalty is seen as a prime determinant of long-term financial performance. This study highlights such behavioral intentions and explores the relationships between passenger behavioral intentions and the various factors that affect them. Apart from the factors recognized by past studies, such as service quality, perceived value, and satisfaction, this study addresses the importance of the involvement of public transit services in passenger behavioral intentions. By using passenger survey data from the Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit (KMRT), a newly operating public transit system in Taiwan, we apply the structural equation modeling technique to analyze the conceptualized relationship model. The findings reveal that all causal relationships are statistically significant. Managerial implications are discussed.
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The built environment is thought to influence travel demand along three principal dimensions —density, diversity, and design. This paper tests this proposition by examining how the ‘3Ds’ affect trip rates and mode choice of residents in the San Francisco Bay Area. Using 1990 travel diary data and land-use records obtained from the U.S. census, regional inventories, and field surveys, models are estimated that relate features of the built environment to variations in vehicle miles traveled per household and mode choice, mainly for non-work trips. Factor analysis is used to linearly combine variables into the density and design dimensions of the built environment. The research finds that density, land-use diversity, and pedestrian-oriented designs generally reduce trip rates and encourage non-auto travel in statistically significant ways, though their influences appear to be fairly marginal. Elasticities between variables and factors that capture the 3Ds and various measures of travel demand are generally in the 0.06 to 0.18 range, expressed in absolute terms. Compact development was found to exert the strongest influence on personal business trips. Within-neighborhood retail shops, on the other hand, were most strongly associated with mode choice for work trips. And while a factor capturing ‘walking quality’ was only moderately related to mode choice for non-work trips, those living in neighborhoods with grid-iron street designs and restricted commercial parking were nonetheless found to average significantly less vehicle miles of travel and rely less on single-occupant vehicles for non-work trips. Overall, this research shows that the elasticities between each dimension of the built environment and travel demand are modest to moderate, though certainly not inconsequential. Thus it supports the contention of new urbanists and others that creating more compact, diverse, and pedestrian-orientated neighborhoods, in combination, can meaningfully influence how Americans travel.
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This paper analyzes empirically measured values of Travel Liking––how much individuals like to travel, in various overall, mode-, and purpose-based categories. The study addresses two questions: what types of people enjoy travel, and under what circumstances is travel enjoyed? We first review and augment some previously hypothesized reasons why individuals may enjoy travel. Then, using data from 1358 commuting residents of three San Francisco Bay Area neighborhoods, a total of 13 ordinary least-squares linear regression models are presented: eight models of short-distance Travel Liking and five models of long-distance Travel Liking. The results indicate that travelers’ attitudes and personality (representing motivations) are more important determinants of Travel Liking than objective travel amounts. For example, while those who commute long distances do tend to dislike commute travel (as expected), the variables entering the models that hold the most importance relate to the personality and attitudes of the traveler. Most of the hypothesized reasons for liking travel are empirically supported here.
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The measurement of service quality continues to be a challenging research theme and one of great practical importance to service providers and regulatory agencies. The key challenges begin with the identification of the set of potentially important dimensions of service quality perceived by passengers, current and potential. We then have to establish a way of measuring each attribute and identifying their relative importance in the overall calculation of satisfaction associated with existing service levels. Once a set of relevant attributes has been identified, this information can be integrated into programs such as monitoring and benchmarking, and even in contract specification. This paper, building on earlier research by the authors, investigates ways of quantifying service quality and comparing the levels within and between bus operators. The importance of establishing suitable market segments and the need to scale the service quality index for each operator to make meaningful comparisons is highlighted.
Article
The project conceived in 1929 by Gardner Murphy and the writer aimed first to present a wide array of problems having to do with five major "attitude areas"--international relations, race relations, economic conflict, political conflict, and religion. The kind of questionnaire material falls into four classes: yes-no, multiple choice, propositions to be responded to by degrees of approval, and a series of brief newspaper narratives to be approved or disapproved in various degrees. The monograph aims to describe a technique rather than to give results. The appendix, covering ten pages, shows the method of constructing an attitude scale. A bibliography is also given.
Article
We hypothesise that differences in people's attitudes and personality traits lead them to attribute varying importance to environmental considerations, safety, comfort, convenience and flexibility. Differences in personality traits can be revealed not only in the individuals' choice of transport, but also in other actions of their everyday lives--such as how much they recycle, whether they take precautions or avoid dangerous pursuits. Conditioning on a set of exogenous individual characteristics, we use indicators of attitudes and personality traits to form latent variables for inclusion in an, otherwise standard, discrete mode choice model. With a sample of Swedish commuters, we find that both attitudes towards flexibility and comfort, as well as being pro-environmentally inclined, influence the individual's choice of mode. Although modal time and cost still are important, it follows that there are other ways, apart from economic incentives, to attract individuals to the, from society's perspective, desirable public modes of transport. Our results should provide useful information to policy-makers and transportation planners developing sustainable transportation systems.
Integration of choice and latent variable models. Perpetual motion: Travel behavior research opportunities and application challenges
  • M Ben-Akiva
  • J L Walker
  • A T Bernardino
  • D A Gopinath
  • T Morikawa
  • A Polydoropoulou
Is “neutral” on a Likert scale the same as “Don’t know” for informed and uninformed respondents? Effects of serial position and labeling on selection of response options
  • T Lam
  • G Allen
  • K Green
Activity–travel behavior of non-workers from Bangalore City in India
  • Manoj
Do Attitudes Affect Behavioral Choices or Vice-Versa : Uncovering Latent Segments Within a Population
  • S Sharda
  • S Astroza
  • S Khoeini
  • I Batur
  • R M Pendyala
  • C R Bhat
When Neutral Responses on a Likert Scale Do Not Mean Opinion Neutrality: Accounting for Unsure Responses in a Hybrid Choice Modeling Framework
  • P V Sheela
  • M Maness
  • S K Balusu
  • A R Pinjari