The Future of Commuting Behavior in the Boise MSA

Document Type


Publication Date

April 2010

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Samia Islam


Due to the presence of Boise State University, Hewlett-Packard, and Micron, as well as the recreational opportunities that the area offers, the city of Boise has become an attractive and recognized city in the mountain west. Unlike other comparable cities in the region, such as Portland and Salt Lake City, Boise does not have a well-established public transportation system. According to the Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho (COMPASS), population growth in the Boise area will create the necessity for a stronger public transportation system in order to reduce congestion and commuting times. As the city grows more residents will have to commute to work. In the current recession many families are looking for a way to cut costs, especially with high gas prices and the opportunity costs of owning multiple cars. This study examines the potential cost savings for an average family in the Boise metro area if one member of the household were to switch from private to public transportation as their primary means of commuting to work. To accommodate the increase in new passengers, ValleyRide and Boise Urban Stages will need to add new bus routes, purchase new busses, hire new drivers, not to mention maintain and operate the entire bus fleet. Participating individuals will experience lower private commuting costs (gas, car payments, car maintenance and parking). In our research we will consult several studies conducted by the Capital City Development Corporation, and Ada County Highway District to obtain local data and statistics as well as the Bureau of Transportation Statistics for national data. Using regression analysis we will look at the impact of the change in commuting behavior and identify the benefits it will have for individual households as well as the City of Boise.

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