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Driving by choice or necessity?

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  • Handy, Susan
  • Weston, Lisa
  • Mokhtarian, Patricia L.

Abstract

From just about all accounts, Americans are driving more than ever, not just to work but to shopping, to school, to soccer practice and band practice, to visit family and friends, and so on. Americans also seem to be complaining more than ever about how much they drive--or, more accurately, how much everyone else drives. However, the available evidence suggests that a notable share of their driving is by choice rather than necessity. Although the distinction between choice and necessity is not always so clear, it is important for policy makers. For necessary trips, planners can explore ways of reducing the need for or length of the trip or ways of enhancing alternatives to driving. For travel by choice, the policy implications are much trickier and touch on basic concepts of freedom of choice. This paper first develops a framework for exploring the boundary between choice and necessity based on a categorization of potential reasons for and sources of "excess driving", and then uses in-depth one-on-one interviews guided by this framework to characterize patterns of excess driving. This research contributes to a deeper understanding of travel behavior and provides a basis for developing policy proposals directed at reducing the growth in driving.

Suggested Citation

  • Handy, Susan & Weston, Lisa & Mokhtarian, Patricia L., 2005. "Driving by choice or necessity?," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 39(2-3), pages 183-203.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:transa:v:39:y:2005:i:2-3:p:183-203
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mokhtarian, Patricia L & Salomon, Ilan & S, Lothlorien, 2001. "Understanding the Demand for Travel: It's Not Purely 'Derived'," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt5bh2d8mh, University of California Transportation Center.
    2. Mcfadden, Daniel L., 2002. "The Path to Discrete-Choice Models," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt87h9p7j1, University of California Transportation Center.
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    4. Ratner, Rebecca K & Kahn, Barbara E & Kahneman, Daniel, 1999. " Choosing Less-Preferred Experiences for the Sake of Variety," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(1), pages 1-15, June.
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    6. Tommy Gärling & Kay Axhausen, 2003. "Introduction: Habitual travel choice," Transportation, Springer, vol. 30(1), pages 1-11, February.
    7. Sebastian Bamberg & Daniel Rölle & Christoph Weber, 2003. "Does habitual car use not lead to more resistance to change of travel mode?," Transportation, Springer, vol. 30(1), pages 97-108, February.
    8. Susan Handy & Kelly Clifton, 2001. "Local shopping as a strategy for reducing automobile travel," Transportation, Springer, vol. 28(4), pages 317-346, November.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. David, Quentin & Foucart, Renaud, 2014. "Modal choice and optimal congestion," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 12-20.
    2. Páez, Antonio & Whalen, Kate, 2010. "Enjoyment of commute: A comparison of different transportation modes," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 44(7), pages 537-549, August.
    3. Abdelaziz Mahrez & Sami Said Al Wahibi, 2014. "Assessment of the public's perceptions about the transport services in Oman," Proceedings of International Academic Conferences 0100384, International Institute of Social and Economic Sciences.
    4. Diana, Marco, 2008. "Making the "primary utility of travel" concept operational: A measurement model for the assessment of the intrinsic utility of reported trips," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 455-474, March.
    5. Lo, Siu Hing & van Breukelen, Gerard J.P. & Peters, Gjalt-Jorn Y. & Kok, Gerjo, 2013. "Proenvironmental travel behavior among office workers: A qualitative study of individual and organizational determinants," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 11-22.
    6. Cao, XinYu, 2007. "The Causal Relationship between the Built Environment and Personal Travel Choice: Evidence from Northern California," Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series qt1n90z8h8, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.
    7. Carlton Basmajian, 2010. "“Turn on the radio, bust out a song”: the experience of driving to work," Transportation, Springer, vol. 37(1), pages 59-84, January.
    8. Watcharasukarn, Montira & Page, Shannon & Krumdieck, Susan, 2012. "Virtual reality simulation game approach to investigate transport adaptive capacity for peak oil planning," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 348-367.
    9. Jonathan L. Gifford, 2011. "Psychology and Rationality in User Behavior: The Case of Scarcity," Chapters,in: A Handbook of Transport Economics, chapter 27 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    10. Ben-Elia, Eran & Alexander, Bayarma & Hubers, Christa & Ettema, Dick, 2014. "Activity fragmentation, ICT and travel: An exploratory Path Analysis of spatiotemporal interrelationships," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 56-74.
    11. Cao, Xinyu, 2006. "The Causal Relationship between the Built Environment and Personal Travel Choice: Evidence from Northern California," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt07q5p340, University of California Transportation Center.
    12. Liu, Shiyong & Triantis, Konstantinos P. & Sarangi, Sudipta, 2010. "A framework for evaluating the dynamic impacts of a congestion pricing policy for a transportation socioeconomic system," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 44(8), pages 596-608, October.
    13. Karen Lucas & Graham Currie, 2012. "Developing socially inclusive transportation policy: transferring the United Kingdom policy approach to the State of Victoria?," Transportation, Springer, vol. 39(1), pages 151-173, January.
    14. Haugen, Katarina & Vilhelmson, Bertil, 2013. "The divergent role of spatial access: The changing supply and location of service amenities and service travel distance in Sweden," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 10-20.
    15. Ruiz, Tomás & Bernabé, José C., 2014. "Measuring factors influencing valuation of nonmotorized improvement measures," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 195-211.

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