Small Urban and Rural Center on Mobility

Study on Market Segmentation of Rural Intercity Travelers

A new SURTC report titled "Travel Behavior of the Lone Rangers: An Application of Attitudinal Structural Equation Modeling to Intercity Transportation Market Segmentation" by David Ripplinger, Jeremy Mattson, and Del Peterson is available online.

Knowledge of intercity travel behavior is valuable to transportation policy makers and industry leaders facing long-term strategic decisions. The attitudes of intercity travelers can be used to estimate changes in mode shares. They can also be used to develop marketing strategies to increase the market share of non-automobile intercity travel modes by tailoring or expanding existing service as well as to identify market segments that might be attracted to alternative modes with effective promotion and education.

In this study, attitudes toward travel time, flexibility, and privacy were found to have the strongest influence on intercity travel behavior and mode choice. The study identified eight market segments based on attitudes toward these three characteristics, and mode shares for automobile, air, intercity bus, intercity rail, and van service were estimated for each market segment for regional trips by residents in the Upper Midwest.

The analysis found that a decrease in travel time for intercity bus or rail service would result in these modes capturing a much larger market share. Results also showed that those market segments with higher percentages of seniors were most likely to travel by bus, train, or van for intercity trips, and they were less likely to travel by air for the longer trips. The size of these market segments will continue to grow as the population ages.

For more information, contact Jeremy Mattson (

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