IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Promoting public transport as a subscription service: Effects of a free month travel card

Listed author(s):
  • Thøgersen, John
Registered author(s):

    Newspapers, book clubs, telephone services and many other subscription services are often marketed to new customers by means of a free or substantially discounted trial period. This article evaluates this method as a means to promote commuting by public transport in a field experiment and based on a solid behavioural-theoretical framework. By measuring important antecedents and mediators, the applied approach offers important insights not only on what behavioural outcomes were produced by the intervention, but why they were produced. Copenhagen car owners received a free month travel card, either alone or together with a customised travel plan or a planning intervention. A control group receiving no intervention was also included. Attitudinal variables, car habits and travel behaviour were measured before and immediately after the intervention and again six months later. The only intervention that had an effect was the free month travel card, which led to a significant increase in commuting by public transport. As expected, the effect was mediated through a change in behavioural intentions rather than a change in perceived constraints. As expected, the effect became weaker when the promotion offer had expired, but an effect was still evident five months later. Possible reasons and implications of this are discussed.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Transport Policy.

    Volume (Year): 16 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 6 (November)
    Pages: 335-343

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:eee:trapol:v:16:y:2009:i:6:p:335-343
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    Order Information: Postal:

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    in new window

    1. Cohen, Tom, 2009. "Evaluating personal travel planning: If it is prohibitively expensive to get a robust answer then what should we do?," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 16(6), pages 344-347, November.
    2. Jörgen Garvill & Agneta Marell & Annika Nordlund, 2003. "Effects of increased awareness on choice of travel mode," Transportation, Springer, vol. 30(1), pages 63-79, February.
    3. Bonsall, Peter, 2009. "Do we know whether personal travel planning really works?," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 16(6), pages 306-314, November.
    4. Thøgersen, John, 2006. "Understanding repetitive travel mode choices in a stable context: A panel study approach," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 40(8), pages 621-638, October.
    5. Ajzen, Icek, 1991. "The theory of planned behavior," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 179-211, December.
    6. Satoshi Fujii & Ryuichi Kitamura, 2003. "What does a one-month free bus ticket do to habitual drivers? An experimental analysis of habit and attitude change," Transportation, Springer, vol. 30(1), pages 81-95, February.
    7. John Thøgersen & Berit Møller, 2008. "Breaking car use habits: The effectiveness of a free one-month travelcard," Transportation, Springer, vol. 35(3), pages 329-345, May.
    8. Chatterjee, Kiron, 2009. "A comparative evaluation of large-scale personal travel planning projects in England," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 16(6), pages 293-305, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:trapol:v:16:y:2009:i:6:p:335-343. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.