Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Travel Route Choice Behavior - Green Way or the Congested Way

Moving to a new country, if only for a period of several months, is always very exciting for me and, since I arrived in Oxford, England almost 3 weeks ago to assume my Visiting Fellowship at All Souls College at Oxford University, I have had many wonderful experiences. I have enjoyed meeting other Fellows, doctoral students, staff members as well as colleagues from different universities at a conference and have been captivated by the beauty of the architecture as well as the gardens in this historic university town.
It has been so pleasant getting used to a new apartment, finding places to shop, and, would you believe, that I have not ridden in a car since the driver brought me from Heathrow London to Oxford almost three weeks ago and neither have I turned on the TV. Life here is just too interesting and there is so much to explore. The support provided by All Souls College with wonderful meals, fellowship, access to libraries, colloquia, and seminars at Oxford University, and its facilities, plus an office that overlooks a garden and fountain, have also given a great lift to my research work.
But, of course, I have to get to and from my office, which I do every day, including weekends that I am at Oxford.

The second day that I was in Oxford I purchased a monthly bus pass because I thought I might use the bus regularly and I do after evening college events.

However, I do love to walk, and, given the sumptuous meals (today, for  example, we had exquisite salmon, many salads, delicious carrots with nuts, and summer pudding filled with berries for lunch, for example) at All Souls College, one needs to exercise.

Now, which route should I choose to get to and from work as well as which mode of transportation. I am not renting a car and neither will I be biking in  although a wife of a deceased Visiting Fellow donated a bike for our use. I carry a brief case with papers and always an umbrella and riding a bike would be too cumbersome.

The first several days I walked the congested way on Iffley Road and then Henley Road and then noticed that I would cough. Also, there has been widespread coverage of pollutants in various cities, based on a study of the World Health Organization (WHO), including in Europe, especially with all the diesel vehicles, which, honesty, I could "feel." To walk the congested way took me thirty minutes.
Then I discovered the green way, which is via Meadow Lane, past a playground and elementary school, and past fields, and also Oxford University sports facilities such as a pool and track. This route takes me about 45 minutes but is preferable to me since I always get some great thinking done and arrive at my destination so refreshed and inspired - great exercise for mind and body and I have met several walkers along this way.
I have done a lot of research on travel choice behavior and multicriteria decision-making, weighting, for example, cost, time, and emissions generated.

Below are links to two of my papers on multicriteria travel decision-making.

Traffic Network Equilibrium and the Environment: A Multicriteria Decision-Making Perspective,
Anna Nagurney, June Dong, and Patricia L. Mokhtarian, in Computational Methods in Decision-Making, Economics and Finance, E. Kontoghiorges, B. Rustem, and S. Siokos, Editors, Kluwer Academic Publishers (2002) pp 501-523.

Multicriteria Network Equilibrium Modeling with Variable Weights for Decision-Making in the Information Age with Applications to Telecommuting and Teleshopping,
Anna Nagurney, June Dong, and Patricia Mokhtarian, Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control 26: (2002) pp 1629-1650.

This topic is part of a broader theme on sustainable transportation that I wrote a book on:
When the book was published in 1999 I received a nice letter from Vice President Al Gore, which hangs framed in my office at the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst.

Now I believe that this work may benefit from another extension, and that is the inclusion of a criterion on health impact of your route choice. Not only do we in our choices of mode and route affect the environment, but we are also affected by it. And breathing diesel fumes and particulate matter is not good for living beings.

And, today,  I had the most unexpected, delightful conversation on the Braess paradox with Dr. Eric Panzer, who is  Fellow at All Souls College at Oxford and is a mathematician, and also with Professor Wolfgang Ernst, a law scholar. Both are Germans and Eric had even heard of the Braess paradox. We had tea together after the delicious lunch.