Date of Award

8-2013

Level of Access

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Resource Economics and Policy

Advisor

Jonathan Rubin

Second Committee Member

Per Garder

Third Committee Member

Hsiang-Tai Cheng

Abstract

Backover crashes in the United States result in at least 300 fatalities and 17,000 injuries every year. Backover crashes occur when a non-occupant of a vehicle is struck by a vehicle moving in reverse. Children are particularly vulnerable. Of the 300 fatalities, at least 100 deaths are children under the age of five. Limited visibility is one factor behind these deaths. The deaths are especially tragic, since the availability of a simple park aid device can expand a driver’s field of vision during a reversal maneuver. Park aid devices include a rearview camera or a sensory system.

This project is undertaken to determine the factors which influence a consumer’s willingness to pay for a vehicle with an already installed park aid system. We determine that these factors include consumer demographics (income and age), vehicle attributes (including drive type, width, height, mileage, make), vehicle operating costs (annual expenditure on fuel, gas price), and locational variables (an urban/rural setting, town population). We set up a binary iii choice model to capture the impact of these variables. For the analysis, we rely on several datasets to build two regression models. The first model combines vehicle registration data from the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles with data from the 2010 US Census. The second regression model uses survey results from the 2009 National Household Travel Survey. The results show that older, more affluent consumers are more likely to purchase these vehicles. Additionally, park aid devices are usually found in luxury vehicle models or vehicles with a higher retail price. Furthermore, these devices are more likely to be included in family vehicles such as minivans, or larger vehicles such as vans and SUVs. Finally, a simple forecast shows that the number of vehicles with a park aid system will continue to grow. A Bass model and a Gompertz model are used for forecasting purposes.

The data used for this study has several limitations. We could only include vehicles with a pre-installed park aid device. We could not measure customers who chose an optional vehicle package solely based on the reason that they wanted the technology. Furthermore, we cannot include customers who chose to install an aftermarket park aid option. We believe that these factors will have a significant impact on our results. Once consumers who chose the optional package or the aftermarket installation are taken into account, it can greatly increase the stock of vehicles with a park aid device. An aftermarket device costs less than $100 and is more affordable.

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