The Value of Having a Public Transit Travel Choice

Journal of Public Transportation Article in Volume 2, Issue 1 (1998) by Xuehao Chu and Steven E Polzin, University of South Florida          

Abstract

The value of having a public transit travel choice is occasionally acknowledged by planners but never quantified; this paper provides a methodology to quantify it. This value of having a public transit choice is in addition to public transit’s benefits to users and non-users as a result of the improved performance of other modes in the transportation system resulting from the public transit investment. The value of choice accrues to the total population that has access to public transit, not just those who chose to use it or those who benefit because others have chosen it. This paper develops a methodology and a crude but plausible estimate of the value of choice for public transit using data describing features of U.S. daily personal travel in 1995. For perspective, this estimate is compared with the total operating and capital expense of providing public transit in the United States. The result indicates that the value of choice alone is comparable in magnitude to the cost of providing public transit in this country.