A semi-nonparametric generalized multinomial logit model, formulated using orthonormal Legendre polynomials to extend the standard Gumbel distribution, is presented in this paper. The resulting semi-nonparametric function can represent a probability density function for a large family of multimodal distributions. The model has a closed-form log-likelihood function that facilitates model estimation. The proposed method is applied to model commute mode choice among four alternatives (auto, transit, bicycle and walk) using travel behavior data from Argau, Switzerland. Comparisons between the multinomial logit model and the proposed semi-nonparametric model show that violations of the standard Gumbel distribution assumption lead to considerable inconsistency in parameter estimates and model inferences.
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