Commuter Impacts and Behavior Changes during a Temporary Freeway Closure: The Fix I-5 Project in Sacramento, CaliforniaAuthor/Presenter: Ye, Liang; Mokhtarian, Patricia L; Circella, Giovanni
In the nine weeks between May 30 and July 31, 2008, a one-mile stretch of Interstate 5 (I-5) in downtown Sacramento, California was intermittently closed for a reconstruction (“the Fix I-5 project”, or “the Fix”). To study the impacts of the Fix on commuters’ travel behavior, a series of three internet-based surveys was conducted. The present paper offers a preliminary analysis of the first two of those surveys. We address the (passive) impacts of the closure on commuters, and the (active) choices of commuters during the closure. The passive impacts of the Fix do not appear to be excessive: majorities of respondents in all relevant subsamples that were analyzed did not find conditions to be worse than usual, and sizable minorities found them to be better. Among the active changes to commute trips, the easiest options — avoiding rush hour and changing route — were the most common responses (adopted by 48% and 44%, respectively). Among the changes that reduce vehicle-miles traveled, increasing transit use and increasing telecommuting were the most common (each adopted by about 5% of the relevant subsample). Evidence suggests that conditions, and commuters’ behavior, began to revert to normal as the Fix progressed. A binary logit model of the choice to increase transit use suggests that persuading current transit users to increase the frequency they use transit is easier than convincing nonusers to switch to transit. Women and (counter to expectation) those in larger households were more likely to increase their transit use. Employer transit subsidies supported increases in transit, while variable work hours and free on-site parking discouraged it.