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Modelling Complex Activity-Travel Scheduling Decisions: Procedure for the Simultaneous Estimation of Activity Generation and Duration Functions

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Activity generation is a key factor in individual's choices of trip frequency and trip purpose. This paper describes the results of an experiment conducted to estimate functions of several temporal factors on individuals' propensity to schedule a given activity on a given day. The theory on which the experimental design is based states that the probability of scheduling an activity is a complex and continuous function of how long ago the activity was lastly performed, the duration constraints for the activity and the amount of available time in the activity schedule of the day considered. Aurora, an existing model of activity scheduling, assumes S-shaped utility functions for the history as well as the duration functions, whereas most time-use studies assume monotonically decreasing marginal utilities. The stated-choice experiment involves a range of flexible activities and a large sample of individuals to measure the utility effects of a set of carefully chosen levels for the factors and tests these specific assumptions. The results suggest that the amount of discretionary time on a day has no significant impact on the scheduling decisions provided that enough time is available for the activity. The effects of other factors are as expected and show diminishing marginal utilities. We find mixed evidence for an initial phase of increasing marginal returns as assumed in an S-shaped function.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, Urban Planning Group, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

Publication date: 2011-05-01

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