The taxicab as public transportation in Boston
Author(s)Austin, Andrew Blair, Jr
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
P. Christopher Zegras.
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This thesis investigates the taxicab and its role as a form of public transportation, using Boston's taxicab system as an opportunity to study the mode's function in the city as well as its relationship to other forms of transportation. In many American cities, the taxicab is an important but frequently overlooked public transportation mode, and it represents a significant opportunity to provide mobility in many places where conventional mass transit cannot do so in a cost-effective manner. Strict regulations guide taxicab operations in most cities, but relatively few exist to directly improve taxicab service or to enhance urban mobility. As a result, economic forces exert a primary influence on taxicab operations that does not necessarily produce socially optimal results. The central inquiry of this thesis is when and where the taxicab operates as a complement or a substitute to Boston's mass transit system, and which factors appear to affect its fulfillment of each role. I hypothesize that Boston's taxicabs provide better service in locations where transit is also available than in areas with little or no transit access, and I argue that this outcome is not optimal for a variety of reasons. I investigate taxicab activity in Boston by analyzing trip-level data recorded for Boston taxicabs during the past two years, mapping taxicab activity and specifying regression models that illuminate significant relationships between the taxicab, transit access, and other characteristics of the urban environment. I find evidence that the taxicab acts as both a mass transit substitute and complement in Boston, and that this tendency varies by transit line and time of day. I also use these models to infer the existence of unmet demand for taxicab service and suggest interventions to the Boston taxicab system that might better align its service distribution with demand.
Thesis (M.C.P.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 2011.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (p. 153-160).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.