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Changes to commute mode: The role of life events, spatial context and environmental attitude

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  • Clark, Ben
  • Chatterjee, Kiron
  • Melia, Steve

Abstract

It has been suggested that commuting behaviours become habitual and that changes to commute mode are more likely at the time of major life events. However, evidence to support this has so far been limited to analyses of small-scale samples. To address this evidence gap, we use two waves of panel data from the UK Household Longitudinal Study (2009/10 and 2010/11) to identify and explain the prevalence of individual change in commute mode from year to year amongst a representative sample of the English working population (n=15,200). One third of those that cycle or get the bus to work, and one quarter of those that walk to work, are shown to change commuting mode by the following year. Car commuting is more stable, with only one in ten car commuters changing mode by the following year. Commute mode changes are found to be primarily driven by alterations to the distance to work which occur in association with changing job or moving home. Switching to non-car commuting becomes much more likely (9.2 times) as the distance to work drops below three miles. High quality public transport links to employment centres are shown to encourage switches away from car commuting and mixed land uses are shown to encourage switches to active commuting (walking and cycling). Switches away from car commuting are found to be more likely (1.3 times) for those with a pro-environmental attitude. The attitude orientation is shown to precede the behaviour change, demonstrating evidence of ‘cause and effect’. Overall, the study shows that changes in commuting behaviour are strongly influenced by life events, spatial context and environmental attitude.

Suggested Citation

  • Clark, Ben & Chatterjee, Kiron & Melia, Steve, 2016. "Changes to commute mode: The role of life events, spatial context and environmental attitude," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 89-105.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:transa:v:89:y:2016:i:c:p:89-105
    DOI: 10.1016/j.tra.2016.05.005
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Vredin Johansson, Maria & Heldt, Tobias & Johansson, Per, 2006. "The effects of attitudes and personality traits on mode choice," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 507-525, July.
    2. Ajzen, Icek, 1991. "The theory of planned behavior," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 179-211, December.
    3. van Ommeren, Jos & Rietveld, Piet & Nijkamp, Peter, 1997. "Commuting: In Search of Jobs and Residences," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 402-421, November.
    4. Clark, William A. V. & Huang, Youqin & Withers, Suzanne, 2003. "Does commuting distance matter?: Commuting tolerance and residential change," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 199-221, March.
    5. Schwanen, Tim & Mokhtarian, Patricia L., 2005. "What Affects Commute Mode Choice: Neighborhood Physical Structure or Preferences Toward Neighborhoods?," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt4nq9r1c9, University of California Transportation Center.
    6. Dargay, Joyce & Hanly, Mark, 2007. "Volatility of car ownership, commuting mode and time in the UK," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 41(10), pages 934-948, December.
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    Cited by:

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    2. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:7:p:1150-:d:103278 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:eee:transa:v:106:y:2017:i:c:p:51-64 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:eee:retrec:v:62:y:2017:i:c:p:57-67 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:eee:transa:v:104:y:2017:i:c:p:319-336 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:eee:trapol:v:59:y:2017:i:c:p:142-152 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:eee:transa:v:104:y:2017:i:c:p:179-194 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Scheiner, Joachim & Chatterjee, Kiron & Heinen, Eva, 2016. "Key events and multimodality: A life course approach," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 148-165.

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