Seminar: Developing Structural Equation Models for Commuter Rail while Analyzing Underlying Attitudes, February 10

Attend the next TOMNET Transportation Center Seminar to explore data analysis of commuter rail systems to better understand what riders want. This seminar is presented by Fulton Schools civil engineering alumnus De’Von Jennings.

Developing Structural Equation Models for Commuter Rail while Analyzing Underlying Attitudes
Presented by De’Von Jennings, University of California, Irvine

Thursday, February 10, 2022
3:15–4:15 p.m.
College Avenue Commons (CAVC) 333, Tempe campus [map] and virtual via Zoom
Registration is required if attending via Zoom


Structural Equation Modeling techniques were used and applied for estimating the service quality of the Caltrain Commuter Rail system. There were ridership factors that the passenger rated that came from the 2018 Caltrain Ridership Survey. The observed variables were the survey questions and responses. These responses were used to measure Caltrain users’ satisfaction with the service quality. It was found that Caltrain’s best quality of service was rated a 4.0 out of 5 for the weekend group and the lowest was 3.81 for the peak-time riders, which is considered good quality for the weekday group but less than great quality for peak riders. Caltrain has better service times than other commuter rail systems. The quality of service was found by using the Structural Equation Modeling methods. SEM can be a tool to use for improving service quality and for planning for future additional services. In the long run, this could have cost savings because having information about riders’ preferences can allow for Caltrain to focus on making specific improvements based on what is valued as important. This model can be modified to fit other transit service ridership surveys in many different regions or countries because most transit ridership customer surveys ask similar questions. This SEM quantifies data that would be difficult to measure, which can be used for analyzing any type of transit quality of service and understanding the preferences of the transit riders.

About the speaker

De’Von Jennings received his bachelors’ degree in civil engineering from ASU in 2016. He went on to receive his doctorate from the University of California, Irvine, in civil environmental engineering (transportation systems engineering) in 2022. He received the Dwight D. Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship in 2018, 2019 and 2021, and was a recipient of the National GEM Consortium GEM Fellowship and USDOT Pacific Southwest Region 9 UTC Fellowship. He has presented over multiple years at the Transportation Research Board Conference and has spent time as a guest researcher at the University of Alberta under the NSF-IRECEE program.

His research interest is in travel forecasting, public transit, rail transit, transportation equity and active transportation.

In his free time, he loves to travel to experience different cultures and food, and has been to 27 countries.