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Travel mode switching: Comparison of findings from two public transportation experiments


  • Abou-Zeid, Maya
  • Ben-Akiva, Moshe


In previous research, we conducted a small-scale experiment in Switzerland to study the effect of a temporary use of public transportation by habitual car drivers on their commute satisfaction and mode switching. This paper reports findings from a similar experiment conducted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a larger sample, focusing on mode switching differences between the two experiments. Whereas none of the Swiss participants switched, about 30% of MIT participants switched to public transportation after the intervention (or treatment). An analysis of the underlying reasons for these differences is presented, including individual socio-demographic factors, travel attributes and institutional transportation policies, experiment context, social influences, and psychological variables. The individual and behavioral variables are compared between those who switched to public transportation and those who did not, and pre- to post-treatment changes are analyzed. Those who switched to public transportation were more predisposed to switching, were more cost-conscious, and had more favorable perceptions and attitudes towards public transportation. Those who did not switch became happier with their cars. Implications for mode switching policies employing free public transportation tickets and for institutional transportation policies are drawn.

Suggested Citation

  • Abou-Zeid, Maya & Ben-Akiva, Moshe, 2012. "Travel mode switching: Comparison of findings from two public transportation experiments," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 48-59.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:trapol:v:24:y:2012:i:c:p:48-59
    DOI: 10.1016/j.tranpol.2012.07.013

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Friman, Margareta & Fujii, Satoshi & Ettema, Dick & Gärling, Tommy & Olsson, Lars E., 2013. "Psychometric analysis of the satisfaction with travel scale," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 132-145.
    2. Marcel Paulssen & Dirk Temme & Akshay Vij & Joan Walker, 2014. "Values, attitudes and travel behavior: a hierarchical latent variable mixed logit model of travel mode choice," Transportation, Springer, vol. 41(4), pages 873-888, July.
    3. Haruna Suzuki & Satoshi Fujii & Tommy Gärling & Dick Ettema & Lars Olsson & Margareta Friman, 2014. "Rules for aggregated satisfaction with work commutes," Transportation, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 495-506, May.
    4. repec:eee:transa:v:107:y:2018:i:c:p:65-74 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Jonas De Vos & Patricia L. Mokhtarian & Tim Schwanen & Veronique Van Acker & Frank Witlox, 2016. "Travel mode choice and travel satisfaction: bridging the gap between decision utility and experienced utility," Transportation, Springer, vol. 43(5), pages 771-796, September.
    6. Eric Morris & Erick Guerra, 2015. "Mood and mode: does how we travel affect how we feel?," Transportation, Springer, vol. 42(1), pages 25-43, January.
    7. repec:eee:trapol:v:60:y:2017:i:c:p:152-159 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:eee:transa:v:104:y:2017:i:c:p:238-254 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Morris, Eric A., 2015. "Should we all just stay home? Travel, out-of-home activities, and life satisfaction," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 519-536.
    10. Cass, Noel & Faulconbridge, James, 2016. "Commuting practices: New insights into modal shift from theories of social practice," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 1-14.
    11. Patricia Mokhtarian & Francis Papon & Matthieu Goulard & Marco Diana, 2015. "What makes travel pleasant and/or tiring? An investigation based on the French National Travel Survey," Transportation, Springer, vol. 42(6), pages 1103-1128, November.
    12. Chalak, Ali & Al-Naghi, Hani & Irani, Alexandra & Abou-Zeid, Maya, 2016. "Commuters’ behavior towards upgraded bus services in Greater Beirut: Implications for greenhouse gas emissions, social welfare and transport policy," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 265-285.
    13. Zhang, Junyi, 2014. "Revisiting residential self-selection issues: A life-oriented approach," The Journal of Transport and Land Use, Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota, vol. 7(3), pages 29-45.
    14. Chowdhury, Subeh & Ceder, Avishai (Avi), 2016. "Users’ willingness to ride an integrated public-transport service: A literature review," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 183-195.
    15. Zhang, Chunqin & Juan, Zhicai & Lu, Weite & Xiao, Guangnian, 2016. "Do the organizational forms affect passenger satisfaction? Evidence from Chinese public transport service," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 129-148.


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