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Behavioral response to congestion: identifying patterns and socio-economic differences in adoption


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  • Mokhtarian, Patricia L.
  • Raney, Elizabeth A.
  • Salomon, Ilan


An understanding of how individuals perceive congestion and the range of coping strategies they adopt is crucial for the development of relevant, effective policies. This study empirically tested two hypotheses: 1. (1) that responses to unsatisfactory conditions, such as a congested commute, are a function of previously adopted adjustments; and2. (2) that responses to congestion are distributed differently across various socio-economic segments. Coping strategies were classified into tiers according to their similarity in implementation cost and effort: lower-effort strategies which increase the comfort in maintaining existing travel patterns; moderate-effort strategies which tend to reduce travel; and major lifestyle/location change strategies such as job or residence changes. Findings confirm that lower-effort strategies tend to be adopted first, with higher-effort strategies adopted if dissatisfaction persists. The adoption of most types of strategies, especially the more costly ones, appears to fall disproportionately to women. Additionally differences were identified by family status, income level, employment status, and household type. These results illustrate the need for further study into patterns of behavioral response to congestion, with the goals of improving forecasts of the effects of congestion mitigation policies and identifying distributional inequities in those effects.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Transport Policy.

Volume (Year): 4 (1997)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 147-160

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Handle: RePEc:eee:trapol:v:4:y:1997:i:3:p:147-160

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  1. David Levinson & Ajay Kumar, 1994. "The Rational Locator: Why Travel Times Have Remained Stable," Working Papers, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group 199402, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
  2. Patricia Mokhtarian & Ilan Salomon, 2005. "Modeling the Choice of Telecommuting 2: A Case of the Preferred Impossible Alternative," Labor and Demography, EconWPA 0505009, EconWPA.
  3. Mokhtarian, Patricia L. & Salomon, Ilan, 1993. "Modeling the Choice of Telecommuting: Setting the Context," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt0js2m5s7, University of California Transportation Center.
  4. Salomon, Ilan & Mokhtarian, Patricia L., 1997. "Coping with Congestion: Understanding the Gap Between Policy Assumptions and Behavior," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt4bh3b670, University of California Transportation Center.
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Cited by:
  1. Choo, Sangho & Mokhtarian, Patricia L, 2004. "Modeling the Individual Consideration of Travel-Related Strategy Bundles," Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis qt3123v46c, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.
  2. Mokhtarian, Patricia L. & Salomon, Ilan, 2001. "How derived is the demand for travel? Some conceptual and measurement considerations," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 35(8), pages 695-719, September.
  3. Sangho Choo & Patricia Mokhtarian, 2008. "How do people respond to congestion mitigation policies? A multivariate probit model of the individual consideration of three travel-related strategy bundles," Transportation, Springer, Springer, vol. 35(2), pages 145-163, March.
  4. Solomon, Ilan & Mokhtarian, Patricia L., 1998. "What Happens When Mobility-Inclined Market Segments Face Accessibility-Enhancing Policies?," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt0f20d772, University of California Transportation Center.
  5. Lisa Schweitzer & Brian Taylor, 2008. "Just pricing: the distributional effects of congestion pricing and sales taxes," Transportation, Springer, Springer, vol. 35(6), pages 797-812, November.
  6. Redmond, Lothlorien S. & Mokhtarian, Patricia L., 2001. "Modeling Objective Mobility: The Impact of Travel-Related Attitudes, Personality and Lifestyle on Distance Traveled," Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis qt05d352fr, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.
  7. Cao, Xinyu & Mokhtarian, Patricia L., 2005. "How do individuals adapt their personal travel? A conceptual exploration of the consideration of travel-related strategies," Transport Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 199-206, May.
  8. Michael J. Clay * & Patricia L. Mokhtarian, 2004. "Personal travel management: the adoption and consideration of travelā€related strategies," Transportation Planning and Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(3), pages 181-209, June.


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