Publication Detail

Commute Quality: Exploring the Role of Mode and Other Factors Using the UC Davis Campus Travel Survey



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Suggested Citation:
Handy, Susan L. and Calvin Thigpen (2018) Commute Quality: Exploring the Role of Mode and Other Factors Using the UC Davis Campus Travel Survey. Transportation Research Board 97th Annual Meeting

The quality of a worker’s commute significantly impacts her well-being and is thus important to assess. In this study, the authors explore factors associated with commute quality using data from the annual Campus Travel Survey of students and employees at the University of California, Davis. The authors focus on three dimensions of the commute experience: how stressful the commute to campus is, whether travel time is seen as wasted time, and the degree to which commuters like their travel mode. The authors' analysis shows significant differences in commute quality by residential location, commute mode, student versus employee status, and gender. Overall, bicycle commuters (among those living in Davis) and train commuters (among those living outside Davis) report the highest quality commutes, all else equal; bus riders report the lowest quality commutes, regardless of location; the results for those traveling to campus by car are somewhere in the middle. These results point to several different strategies for employers like UC Davis that aim to improve commute quality in order to enhance well-being: improve the quality of each mode, encourage a shift to modes offering higher quality commutes, identify “mis-matched” employees who are not using the mode that would yield the highest commute satisfaction, and/or use social marketing techniques to change perceptions of and preferences for commute options.

Key words: Bicycle commuting, commuting, mode choice, quality of life, railroad commuter service, residential location, transit buses, travel surveys