Florida long-distance travel characteristics and their potential impacts on the transportation system.
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Florida long-distance travel characteristics and their potential impacts on the transportation system.

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      The overall goal of this project is to enhance the fundamental understanding of Florida long-distance travel characteristics, and to provide policy implications for long-distance transportation planning in the future. To achieve the research goal, this study first conducts a descriptive analysis of long-distance travel with special emphasis on the modes used, distance traveled, and origins and destinations. Then, this study estimates mode choice models for long-distance travel that are sensitive to alternative specific attributes and traveler characteristics. It is important to have appropriate models that are able to provide accurate predictions of travelers’ mode choice behavior that consider how people choose one mode or another.

      The descriptive analysis shows that nearly 90 percent of trips are made by personal passenger cars, and most are on I-4, I-95, and Turnpike corridors that connect the Tampa, Orlando, and Miami/Fort Lauderdale urbanized areas as defined by Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). Among MSAs in Florida, Orlando is the hub for long-distance travel. The estimated model shows that both travel time and travel cost decrease car users’ utility, indicating that people will have a greater chance to shift to other modes as travel time and travel costs increase. In contrast, air travel has a positive sign for travel time, and a negative sign for travel cost, while bus has a negative coefficient for travel time and a positive sign for travel cost. Positive signs of these estimated parameters may imply that air travelers and bus users are willing to increase travel time and travel cost, respectively. In addition, residents in rural areas seem to have a higher probability to drive personal cars for long-distance travel. Considering that less air and other public transportation service options are available in rural areas, the sign of this estimated parameter is reasonable.

      These results suggest Florida needs to focus more on long-distance travel up to the 200-mile range between MSAs such as Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, and Miami/Fort Lauderdale. The I-4 corridor between Daytona and Tampa/Saint Petersburg MSAs, the Turnpike – I-95 corridor that connects the Orlando, Port Saint Lucie, Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami MSAs, and the northern section of I-95 between Jacksonville and Daytona Beach MSAs will need to be planned for in the near future. For this 200-mile travel distance, a new alternative mode may need to be provided at a speed of 150 or more miles per hour, while maintaining a lower cost level than for air travel.

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