Congestion Mitigation and Student Mode Choice: A Statistical Analysis of the I-66 High Occupancy Toll Lanes Impact on Transit and University Student Mode Choice in the Washington D.C. Area



Rossi, Melissa L

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Today’s university students are tomorrow’s workforce. Transportation infrastructure that is implemented to relieve congestion will be used by these current students in the future when they are in the peaks of their careers. Additionally, in the past decade, there has been a transformational change in personal travel modes and choices due, in large part, to shared mobility services. Students adapt more quickly to changes due to technological revolutions than older generations. Thus, it is paramount to understand students’ perceptions and opinions of transportation modes and congestion mitigation methods. While students’ travel behaviors could change once entering the workforce or undergoing other lifestyle changes, many of their perceptions of public transit and tolling could stay the same. The most recent congestion mitigation project in Northern Virginia is the I-66 HOT Lanes Inside the Beltway, which opened in December 2017. This project has a regional impact and promotes multimodal use along the corridor. In November 2018, Amazon announced that its second headquarters (HQ2) would be coming to Northern Virginia. With the economic growth Amazon HQ2 will bring to Northern Virginia, more people will be attracted to the region, putting an additional strain on an already congested transportation network. Additionally, the impending arrival of autonomous vehicles in the transportation fleet could change traveler’s mode choice, travel utility, the value of time, and willingness to pay. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effectiveness of the I-66 HOT lanes in promoting transit use through analysis of aggregated transit ridership data and George Mason University students’ current mode choice, perceptions of transit, opinions of congestion relief strategies, and perceptions of autonomous vehicles by analyzing individual responses in a stated preference survey. By gaining a better understanding of students’ perceptions of different modes and congestion mitigation methods, more strategic investments can be made for projects that include modes that reduce congestion and that travelers want to use.



High occupancy toll, Transit, Transportation, Perceptions of autonomous vehicles