Mobility Patterns, User Behavior and Financial Crisis: An Exploratory and Revealed Preference Analysis
Christina Milioti, National Technical University of Athens, Anastasia Pnevmatikou, National Technical University of Athens, Matthew G. Karlaftis, National Technical University of Athens
During financial crises, mobility patterns are expected to change. This paper analyses the impact of the financial crisis on PT and the urban transport sector, comparing current mobility patterns to pre-recession trends, using discrete choice models.
The economic crisis that hit Greece in 2009, resulted in a number of socio-spatial changes in urban areas; unemployment rose to 30%, income reduced by almost 40%, GDP dropped by more than 20%, fuel price increased by 50%. As a result, the transport sector, which is an indispensable part of this process, has been severely affected by the economic recession. In general, people’s mobility has been reduced; increases in fuel cost have led to less private car traffic but without recorded increase in Public Transport (PT) demand; bus frequency reductions and increase of fare levels are recorded; increased use of cycling and alternative modes is observed. During financial crises, mobility patterns and user behavior are expected to change. Nevertheless, there is limited understanding of the factors governing the dynamics of urban transformation and mobility pattern change in times of economic recession. Using Athens, Greece, as a study area, this paper analyses the impact of the financial crisis on PT and the urban transport sector in general, with relation to trip and traveler personal characteristics. Hence, the crucial questions addressed are:
• How many people will switch from their private vehicles to PT or bike due to the economic recession?
• How many people will continue to use their private vehicles, if fuel prices increase?
• Do people opinions regarding the quality of PT services affect their choice of mode?
• How many people will change their trip characteristics such as frequency of the trip?
In this context, extensive discrete choice models were developed that compare current travel mobility patterns to pre-recession trends. Results of the models show that among the significant factors that govern change of travel mode are trip frequency, and income level. The understanding of the role of user behavior in choice of mode and mobility patterns and of their complex interactions with major societal trends such as economic recession is essential in several respects such as underpinning policies geared at sustainable mobility and to cater for future mobility need.
Association for European Transport