Date of Graduation

5-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Accounting

Advisor

Bristow, Susan E

Abstract

In commuting to work, commuters select from a limited variety of transportation modes, including alternative modes like cycling and walking, based on needs and preferences. Understanding these needs and preferences, and how the conditions of the immediate environment can influence them can benefit both businesses and local governments in their efforts to accommodate the commute needs of their workers and better serve their communities. Though the body of commute preference research has grown significantly over recent decades, the study of the effects of the natural environment has remained mostly overlooked. In my research, I examined the relationships between selected weather conditions of the natural environment and the percentage of the labor force that cycled or walked to work in large U.S. cities. To explore these relationships, I employed multicollinaerity and multiple linear regression analysis of the percentage of the labor force that commuted by cycling or walking in the two largest cities of each state with eight observed conditions of the natural environment in each city: the mean daily maximum temperature; the mean daily minimum temperature; the number of days per year in which fog limited visibility to less than or equal to one-quarter mile; the number of days per year with thunderstorms; the mean wind speed; the total water equivalent precipitation; the total amount of snow, ice, pellets, and hail; and the total number of days with snowfall greater than or equal to one inch. The results of my statistical analysis revealed that only two variables (the number of days per year with thunderstorms and the total water equivalent precipitation) exhibited significant relationships with the percentage of work commuters who cycled or walked. Furthermore, the number of days per year with thunderstorms exhibited a strong inverse relationship, meaning that thunderstorms deterred workers from cycling or walking to work. These relationships confirmed the significant influence that precipitation, as a condition of the natural environment, can bear on commute preferences. Based on these findings, businesses can better understand their employees and improve their productivity and reputations within their communities by accommodating the differences in commute mode preferences across varying climatological regions.

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