Empirical Analysis of the Impact of Security Perception on Intercity Mode Choice: A Panel Rank-Ordered Mixed-Logit Model
In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, individuals have become increasingly conscious about travel safety and security issues. Hence, in addition to travel times and costs, the perceptions about the security-levels can also be expected to be an important factor influencing intercity travel decisions. In the last few years, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has implemented several procedures including rigorous screening to improve airline security. However, these procedures have also increased the airline travel times. In this paper, we present an empirical analysis of individuals' mode choice for intercity business trips incorporating trade-offs between improved security levels and increased travel times. Stated-preference data collected in New York City are used to develop a panel rank-ordered mixed logit model. We find that individuals who hold positive impressions about the security measures are more likely to fly, but the utility of air mode decreases with increasing inspection and boarding time. The implication of these empirical results is that the TSA should seek to both improve the public perceptions of the security arrangements as well as ensure fast and efficient screening so as to sustain/increase the demand for air travel. However, caution should be administered in generalizing these findings as these are based on a small sample and data gathered from an area directly impacted by the events of 9/11. In summary, this paper reiterates the importance of research toward understanding the role of security perceptions on intercity travel decisions and presents a first step in this direction.