Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Committee Chair(s)

Patrick A. Singleton


Patrick A. Singleton


Ziqi Song


Ryan Bosworth


Michelle Mekker


In transportation economics, measuring the willingness to pay (WTP) for a reduction in travel time–the monetary value of travel time savings (VTTS) –plays an important role in understanding the social benefits of various transportation projects. These monetary appraisals (WTP, VTTS) are better understood either through expensive daily activity-travel-expenditure diaries or using discrete choice experiments (DCEs). This study made use of data collected from two different stated preference surveys – a type of DCEs - (one from Portland, Oregon, US, and one from all over the US) to understand the marginal utilities of work, commute, income, and travel cost. The marginal utility of an activity or good is defined as the satisfaction/utility gained from a unit change in that activity or good. The findings from our results suggest that, on average, people have negative marginal utilities for both working and commuting. Also, on average, the marginal disutility of commute time was greater than the marginal disutility of work time. For walk and bicycle commuters, auto passengers, and people with flexible work hours, the marginal disutility of commute time was relatively lower compared to other modes and inflexible work hours. Based on the findings, we suggest changes to the labor market, improving safety and comfortability for active mode users rather than much focus on reducing travel time for such users, and opportunities for future studies in understanding the components of VTTS.