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Psychological resistance against attempts to reduce private car use


  • Tertoolen, Gerard
  • van Kreveld, Dik
  • Verstraten, Ben


The aim of the research was to investigate the effects of information, feedback and commitment on car use and attitudes related to car use. In a field experiment () users of private automobiles in The Netherlands monitored their travel behavior for four consecutive two-week periods. The participants received information and individual feedback about the effects of their car use on the environment and/or on their own finances. Information on public transport applicable to their situation was provided as well. Moreover, a subset of the participants committed themselves to reduce their mileage. Separate and combined effects of self-monitoring, environmental feedback, financial feedback, and commitment were analyzed. Effects on travel behavior turned out to be absent. Effects on attitudes were in some cases opposite to what was expected from a theoretical point of view as well as what was considered desirable from a policy point of view. The underlying psychological processes are discussed in terms of the social dilemma, dissonance reduction and reactance. Consequences for information campaigns are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Tertoolen, Gerard & van Kreveld, Dik & Verstraten, Ben, 1998. "Psychological resistance against attempts to reduce private car use," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 171-181, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:transa:v:32:y:1998:i:3:p:171-181

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