A comprehensive assessment of children's activity-travel patterns with implications for activity-based travel demand modeling

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Copperman, Rachel Batya Anna, 1982-

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Children are an often overlooked and understudied population group, whose travel needs are responsible for a significant number of trips made by a household. In addition, children’s travel and activity participation have direct implication for adults’ activity-travel patterns. A better understanding of children’s activity-travel patterns and the linkages between parents and children’s activity-travel needs is necessary for accurate prediction and forecasting of activity-based travel demand modeling systems. In contrast to the need to examine and model children’s activity-travel patterns, existing activity-based research and modeling systems have almost exclusively focused their attention on the activity-travel patterns of adults. Therefore, the goal of this research effort is to contribute to the area of activity-based travel demand analysis by comprehensively examining children’s activity-travel patterns, and by developing a framework for incorporating children within activity-based travel demand modeling systems. This dissertation provides a comprehensive review of previous research on children’s activity engagement and travel by focusing on the dimensions characterizing children’s activity-travel patterns and the factors affecting these dimensions. Further, an exploratory analysis examines the weekday and weekend activity participation characteristics of school-going children. The study focuses on the overall time-use of children in different types of activities, as well as on several dimensions characterizing the context of participation in activities. In addition, the dissertation discusses the treatment of children within current activity-based travel demand modeling systems and conceptualizes an alternative framework for simulating the daily activity-travel patterns of children. An empirical analysis is undertaken of the post-school out-of-home activity-location engagement patterns of children aged 5 to 17 years. Specifically, this research effort utilizes a multinomial logit model to analyze children’s post-school location patterns, and employs a multiple discrete-continuous extreme value (MDCEV) model to study the propensity of children to participate in, and allocate time to, multiple activity episode purpose-location types during the after-school period. Finally, the paper identifies the need and opportunities for further research in the field of children’s travel behavior analysis.