Patterson, Z., Ewing, G., and Haider, M. (2007)

Mode and Carrier Choice in the Quebec City - Windsor Corridor: A Random Parameters Approach

6th Triennal Symposium on Transportation Analysis, Phuket Island, Thailand

The Quebec City-Windsor corridor is the busiest and most important trade and transportation corridor in Canada. The transportation sector is the second largest contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the country. Governments around the world, including Canada, are considering increased mode share by rail as a way to reduce transportation emissions. Evaluating the potential of freight mode shift as a means to reduce transportation emissions requires rigorous analytical models that can predict the effect of government policy on mode split. This paper presents the findings of a random parameters mixed-logit model of shipper carrier choice in the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor. The model itself was developed using the results of a stated preference Survey undertaken in the fall of 2005. The survey was designed explicitly to evaluate shipper preferences for the carriage of intercity consignments, and particularly for their preferences for carriers that contract the services of rail companies to carry these shipments via rail. A fixed parameters approach suggests that shippers are very mistrustful of using rail to move their consignments and suggests that increasing rail’s share of freight faces tremendous challenges. This result is not entirely consistent with shipper interviews conducted during survey development that suggested some shippers might prefer rail for environmental-public relations reasons. A random-parameters approach was adopted to test whether preference variation across respondents would be able to explain this inconsistency. This random-parameter analysis suggests that there is some variation in shippers’ preferences for the use of intermodal transportation. In particular, the model suggests that for 20% of shippers, knowledge of a carrier’s use of rail has a positive effect. This appears to be the first attempt at a random parameter approach in the freight choice literature.

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