Commute Mode Choices and the Role of Parking Prices, Parking Availability and Urban Form: Evidence from Los Angeles County

15:30-17:30, Monday, November 4, 2019

I-206, Boxue Building, DUFE


Dr. Sofia FRANCO is an Associate Professor at UC Irvine. Sofia has also been a consultant to the World Bank and to the National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education, Maryland, USA, on topics related to urban development and zoning policies. Sofia is an applied microeconomist with a research agenda that lies at the boundaries of environmental, urban and transportation economics, and uses state-of-the-art econometric and computable general equilibrium methods, as well as geographical information tools. Most of her work consists of theoretical and empirical assessments of major public policy issues. Additional work has focused on the impacts of parking policies on urban sprawl, land consumption and real estate prices. A further branch of her research has examined the impacts of urban growth controls on forest management practices.  

Her research has appeared in peer-reviewed academic journals such as Transportation Research Part BJournal of Environmental Economics and ManagementJournal of Urban EconomicsRegional Science and Urban EconomicsJournal of Economic GeographyAmerican Journal of Agricultural Economics, and has also been presented in several major international conferences.

Parking prices, parking availability, and urban form are believed to impact commute mode choices. We examine the joint role of these three factors using a dataset that we construct by merging three major different data sources. We use the California Household Travel Survey data and match it to two unique datasets on parking for Los Angeles County; one for prices and the other availability. We first examine how these three factors affect the binary decision of whether to drive, while controlling for a rich set of covariates. We then become more specific and examine how these factors affect particular commute modes in a multinomial context. Conditional discrete choice methods are applied in our analyses. Our results indicate that parking prices have a significant negative impact on the decision to drive to work, where a 10% increase in parking prices is associated with a 1.1% drop in the probability of driving to work. Both on-street and off-street parking availability at home, as well as urban form measures of the workplace tract, are found to significantly affect commute mode choices. These findings have important policy implications in terms of minimum parking requirements, maximum parking standards, employer-paid parking, and parking pricing policies.

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