Committee History

By Peter Stopher, Oct. 2012

The Value of Time Task Force

In January 1969, two young PhDs – Tom Lisco from the University of Chicago and Peter Stopher from the University of London – attended the Highway Research Board meeting, both presenting papers from their recently completed PhD theses on disaggregate choice models and value of travel time. Clark Ogelsby, the chair of the HRB Committee on Economics and Finance got both young men to attend the committee meeting, where they also heard of some work being done at Stanford Research Institute (SRI) on values of time, from toll bridge/free bridge comparisons. Following the meeting, Clark Oglesby suggested that Tom and Peter might undertake a review of the work of SRI on Value of Time, for presentation at the 1970 HRB meeting. They took up this suggestion, and presented their review at the 1970 meeting, and this was subsequently published in Highway Research Record No. 314. Following this presentation, Clark Oglesby, along with HRB Staff Person, Ken Cook, suggested that Stopher and Lisco might head up a Value of Time Task Force, as a subsidiary to the Economics and Finance Committee. Duly, in 1971, the task force was formed with Peter Stopher as the chair.

The Value of Time Task Force existed for 3 years, during which time it sponsored a Highway Research Record (369), with several papers on aspects of value of travel time. However, the small group of members was more interested in pursuing the goal of bringing disaggregate travel demand modeling into the mainstream of transport planning. With this end in mind, during 1972-3, the members worked with Ken Cook to re-form the Task Force into a full committee. In this same time period, the Task Force also worked on putting together the first conference on Traveler Behavior and Values, which was developed under the joint sponsorship of the Highway Research Board and the Engineering Foundation, and took place at one of the Engineering Foundations New England Summer Conferences, in South Berwick, Maine in July 1973. The format of the conference was based heavily on the successful formula used by the Engineering Foundation Conferences, comprising workshops, with resource papers and time permitted for extensive discussion, in a week-long format, that permitted time each day for informal relaxation and networking. The conference proceedings were published by the Highway Research Board as Special Report 149.
In January 1973, at the same time that the Highway Research Board was reorganized into the Transportation Research Board, and following the important Williamsburg Conference on Travel Demand Forecasting, held in December 1972 (HRB Special Report 143), the Committee on Traveler Behavior and Values of the Transportation Research Board was formed, with Peter Stopher as the first chairman, and Jim Scott the TRB Staff Person. The committee was given the number A1C04 in the reorganization to the TRB. The Committee also moved from the Task Force home in Economics and Finance into a new grouping concerned with Transport Planning and Modeling.

The Committee on Traveler Behavior and Values

In addition to promulgating work in disaggregate demand modeling, the Committee saw a major role as continuing the conferences that had begun with the conference in South Berwick, Maine in 1973, and so organized subsequent conferences in Asheville, North Carolina (1975) under the joint chairmanship of Stopher and Arnim Meyburg, Tanunda, South Australia (1977) under the joint chairmanship of Stopher and David Hensher, and Eibsee, Germany (1979) under the joint chairmanship of Stopher, Meyburg, and Werner Brög. In 1977, having served for the maximum permitted 5 years as chairman, Stopher stepped down as chairman, and David Hartgen became the second chair of the committee. Under Hartgen’s chairmanship, the committee continued its primary goals of fostering research in disaggregate, behavioral models of travel demand, and organizing conferences on this topic. However, funding restrictions forced the next conference to be held in Tidewater, Virginia in 1981, which many in the profession have not recognized as one of the continuing series of travel behavior conferences.

Another achievement of the Committee in the 1970s was gaining acceptance of a research problem statement for what became NCHRP Project 8-14, research on a new paradigm for travel-demand forecasting, based on behavioral constructs and psychological research. This three-year project had a panel that was drawn heavily from the committee membership and, while not leading to a new paradigm for modeling, provided some very useful insights into various social science and psychological constructs that influenced travel-behavior modeling in the following years. With extensions, the project actually ended up as a five-year project, with completion of the panel reviews in 1982, after a commencement in 1974.
In the 1980s, there was some jurisdictional rivalry between the Committee on Traveler Behavior and Values and the Committee on Passenger Travel Demand Forecasting.  The latter committee was the reincarnation of the Origin and Destination Studies Committee of the Highway Research Board that had traditionally focused on aggregate models. However, under a succession of chairs in the late 1970s and through the 1980s, who were more convinced of the merits of disaggregate models, the Passenger Travel Demand Forecasting Committee found itself overlapping with the Traveler Behavior and Values Committee. Fortunately for both committees, however, these two committees were soon recognized in TRB as drawing some of the largest numbers of submitted papers for each TRB meeting and justifying their separate existences by the huge number of paper sessions that were sponsored between them. The two committees also jointly and under the encouragement of Jim Scott, developed very rigorous review processes for Annual Meeting papers, and became recognized in TRB as also having among the most stringent standards for both presentation and publication of all Board Committees. Over this period from the mid-1970s until the late 1980s, there were continual challenges to the Traveler Behavior and Values Committee as to its continuing existence. However, in retrospect, this was probably good for the Committee, in that it forced the Committee to continually justify its existence and to look to what made sense of it continuing separate and distinct from the Passenger Travel Demand Forecasting Committee.
During the 1980s, the next Travel Behavior Conference was organized and held in Randwijk in the Netherlands, and at this conference, a movement was started to set up a separate association for the organization of future conferences in the series. Aad Ruhl and Mary Lynn Tischer initially formed the International Association for Travel Behavior (IATB), (later adding the word Research thus being referred to as IATBR), which quickly grew in membership.  It also became listed as a Subcommittee of the Traveler Behavior and Values Committee, so that it could claim a meeting organized within the annual TRB meetings, and also recognizing its outgrowth from that committee’s activities. The IATBR conferences have continued subsequently as triennial meetings, taking place at various locations around the world, including Chile, Quebec, Australia, and India, among other places.
Following completion of Hartgen’s term as chair, the next chair was Mary Lynn Tischer, who chaired the committee from 1983 until 1988. In 1984, the Committee created its first Subcommittee on Survey Methods. This followed sponsorship by the committee of sessions on travel survey methods at the annual meeting, which resulted in 1982 and 1983 in the publication of Transportation Research Records devoted entirely to survey methods. This subcommittee was initially chaired by Stopher (1984-87) and, like the original Value of Time Task Force, saw as one of its roles to commence a new conference series on Survey Methods. In this series, the first conference was one organized by Werner Brög as an invitation-only conference in Eibsee, Germany in 1981, preceding the formation of the Subcommittee. However, the Subcommittee helped organize the second Survey Methods conference in Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia in 1985. The third conference was held in Washington, as an add-on to the Annual TRB meeting in 1988 under the subcommittee. This conference series followed the same format as the earlier Traveler Behavior and Values conferences, with the workshop format and free time for networking and relaxation.
The subcommittee continued as a subcommittee of Traveler Behavior and Values for the entire 1980s. However, a major federal focus on data occurred at the end of the 1980s, with the result that, in 1990, the subcommittee became a full-fledged committee of the TRB and moved into a separate section from Traveler Behavior and Values, where it remains as a major committee to the present, also becoming one of those committees that receives a large number of submissions each year for the TRB meeting, and sponsors its maximum number of sessions. The Survey Methods conferences also continued with a small invitational conference in Oxford in 1996 and a revival of the original conference format and design in 1997 in Eibsee, Germany under the joint chairmanship of Brög, Peter Jones, and Stopher. This has now become a triennial series, with conferences in South Africa, Costa Rica, France, and Chile over the past 13 years.

Following the tenure of Mary Lynn Tischer as chair of the committee, the next chair was Ryuichi Kitamura. He was appointed chair of Traveler Behavior and Values from 1989 to 1994, with Eric Pas as chair of the Travel Demand Forecasting committee, and this dual appointment heralded a period of close cooperation between the two committees, which has continued since. Travel Demand Forecasting has redefined its role as being more involved in the mainstream of Travel Demand models, while Traveler Behavior and Values has focused more on cutting edge research into behavioral principles underlying demand modeling. The two committees have continued since that time to cooperate and also to draw very large numbers of paper submissions each year and sponsor the maximum permitted number of sessions. In 1992, Mary Lynn Tischer was appointed as the chair of the Section that included both of these committees and was the first chair from Traveler Behavior and Values to be appointed as a section chair. In 1995, Stopher was appointed for the second time as chair of the Committee, a position he held until 1997. 

Ryuichi was followed by Kostas Goulias who served as chair until 2003.  During this time the committee intensified its efforts to expand its role at TRB by modifying the scope of subcommittees with the Activity Analysis and Travel Patterns becoming the Time Use and Activity patterns and the Route Choice and Travel Behavior becoming the Route Choice and Spatial Behavior.  A subcommittee on International Activities was also created to host the International Association for Travel Behavior Research meetings and related sessions.  Also during this period a Subcommittee on Behavioral Processes and the subcommittee on Behavioral Aspects of Freight Transportation were created to signal the importance of these subjects and create new forums. During this period our committee also issued its first "manifesto" as a TRB millennial paper with title: TRAVEL BEHAVIOR AND VALUES RESEARCH FOR HUMAN-CENTERED TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS (

In 2000, after a long association with the Committee, Jim Scott retired from the Transportation Research Board as the staff person for the committees in the Travel Analysis Methods Section, and Kim Fisher, who continues to serve in this role, commenced her duties in 2001. Also, in 2001, Stopher and Hartgen were both elected as Emeritus Members of the committee, a new category of membership that was created in 2000. In the following year, Tom Golob was also elected as an Emeritus Member.

In 2004, Ram Pendyala was appointed as the committee chair. Many of committee activities were streamlined with a remarkable doubling of the research papers submitted to our committee.  During this period and in a joint partnership with the Committee on Transportation Demand Forecasting chaired at the time by Chandra Bhat a TRB Task Force was created with title "Moving Activity-Based Approaches to Practice" with chair Kostas Goulias.

Also in this period, the standing committees of the TRB were reorganized and renumbered, and Traveler Behavior and Values changed from A1C04 to ADB10. In 2006, Ryuichi Kitamura was elected an Emeritus Member and in 2009, Kostas Goulias, Hani Mahmassani, and Pat Mokhtarian all were elected as Emeritus Members. In 2007-8, some changes were made in the subcommittees, with the subcommittee on Route Choice and Spatial Behavior becoming a joint subcommittee with the Transportation Network Modeling Committee and renamed Route Choice and Spatiotemporal Behavior, and the Qualitative Methods and Behavioral Processes subcommittees combining to become the Subcommittee on Behavioral Processes: Qualitative and Quantitative Methods.

Eric Miller then was appointed to the chair of Traveler Behavior and Values in 2010, (and would serve in this role till 2015).