This paper integrates empirical modeling results from independent freight studies performed in two large metropolitan areas. These empirical results help us quantify the determinants of freight travel behavior and the priorities involved in the decision making process for commercial vehicle traffic. Two important conclusions stand out: first, the empirically observed variation in values of time for different market segments and second, the importance of route choice over other decisions available to commercial vehicle drivers.
The two studies recruited establishments in New York and Southern California that utilized trucks. A survey was used to examine both their current travel decisions and their responses to new travel options and various congestion pricing policies. A total of 1,200 establishments were recruited in the Southern California study and a total of over 850 establishments were recruited in the New York study. The sampling frame included respondents from different market segments which included carriers, shippers, receivers and service providers.
Stated preference exercises in both studies included experiments to gauge respondents’ interest in shifting routes or the time-of-day of travel. Responses were modeled under a variety of alternative future scenarios and a range of willingness-to-pay for route and time-of-day choices was developed.
The empirical results indicate that the single point value of time that is often used in demand models may not be realistic. In fact, we observed that the value of time varies by commodity type, market segment (shipper, receiver or carrier) and type of decision (route or time-of-day). The empirical results also indicate that freight transportation providers place a higher level of importance on route selection in comparison to other decisions. Most importantly, the willingness-to-pay to switch to a different route or to off-peak periods also varies by the type of pricing strategy in place examined including freeway pricing, truck lane pricing, cordon pricing, and VMT pricing.