Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Civil Engineering

Major Professor

Ram M. Pendyala, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Steven E. Polzin, Ph.D., P.E.

Committee Member

Jian J. Lu, Ph.D., P.E.


cars, SUVs, vans, pickup trucks, socio-demographics, descriptive analysis, structural equations model, multinomial logit model


Vehicle ownership and utilization have a profound influence on activity-travel patterns of individuals, vehicle emissions, fuel consumption, highway capacity, congestion and traffic safety. The influence could be further skewed by the diversity of the vehicle fleet. This thesis presents a detailed analysis of the 2001 National Household Travel Survey data to understand the vehicle ownership patterns, fleet mix, allocation and utilization in the context of household and person socio-demographic characteristics. Along with a rich descriptive analysis, models of vehicle ownership and utilization are estimated to distinguish four vehicle types; cars, SUVs (sport utility vehicles), vans and pickup trucks based on their ownership by households and utilization patterns by household members. The primary driver level vehicle utilization analysis provides insights into the extent of allocation of a vehicle to a single person. In addition to confirming many perceptions about the ownership, acquisition and utilization patterns of different types of vehicles, this analysis brings out some subtle differences and similarities among the vehicle types. The analysis results indicate a greater propensity to acquire and use larger vehicles such as minivans, sports utility vehicles and pickup trucks among certain socio-demographic segments of population. Increased ownership and use of vans and SUVs, and their usage as personal vehicles rather than just work vehicles warrants a need to revise vehicle type specific policies, transportation planning and control measures.