Pursuing the “Impossible” Dream: Incorporating Attitudes into Regional Transportation Models

Date(s) - 02/10/2020
3:45 PM - 5:30 PM

Reitz Union, Room 2365



Unprecedented changes are underway in transportation, and it has never been more vital to understand and predict the behavioral impacts of these changes. However, our ability to do so is severely ham­pered by the absence from our models of a major class of variables that has been repeat­edly demonstrated to be vital to nearly every decision individuals make — specifically, attitudes (including opin­ions, feelings, preferences, per­­ceptions, and personality). The barriers to including attitudes are non-trivial, but we believe they are not insurmountable. This talk presents some early results of using machine learning methods to transfer attitudinal variables from a specialized, research-oriented survey sample (“donor”) into the 2017 National Household Travel Survey (Georgia subsample) dataset (“recipient”). As a measure of internal validation, we show the correlations between the observed and predicted attitudes for the donor sample. To assess external validity, we incorporate the predicted attitudes as explanatory variables in a model of ridehailing frequency using the recipient sample. We compare the performance of the model with and without the predicted attitudes, demonstrating their added value.

About the Speaker:

Patricia Mokhtarian, Ph.D.

Susan G. and Christopher D. Pappas Professor & Group Coordinator

Georgia Institute of Technology
Patricia Mokhtarian is the Susan G. and Christopher D. Pappas Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She joined Georgia Tech in 2013, after 23 years at the University of California, Davis.
Prior to that, she spent nine years in regional planning and consulting in Southern California, after completing her PhD at Northwestern University.
Dr. Mokhtarian has specialized in the application of rigorous quantitative methods to the study of travel behavior for about 40 years. A key research interest has been the impact of telecommunications technology on travel behavior, with additional interests in land use and transportation interactions (especially the influence of the built environment on travel behavior, after accounting for self-selection), attitudes toward travel itself, multitasking, travel time budgets, induced demand, and congestion-response behavior.
She has authored or co-authored more than 200 refereed journal articles, technical reports, and other publications. She is a recent Past Chair of the International Association for Travel Behaviour Research, and serves on the editorial boards of nine transportation journals.