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Understanding the Demand for Travel: It's Not Purely 'Derived'


  • Mokhtarian, Patricia L
  • Salomon, Ilan
  • S, Lothlorien


We contest the derived demand paradigm for travel as a behavioral absolute. To the contrary, we suggest that travel has an intrinsic positive utility and is valued for its own sake, not just as a means of reaching a destination. We argue that the same positive characteristics that lead people to engage in travel as a recreational activity in itself are likely to motivate them to engage in apparently excess travel in the context of their mandatory and maintenance activities as well. This paper explores the conceptual basis of a positive utility for travel, and presents some results from an ongoing empirical study of attitudes toward travel. In modelling distance traveled (in each of 11 categories), we found that subjective variables such as Travel Liking, the adventure-seeker Personality trait, the travel stress Attitudinal factor, and the Excess Travel indicator added considerable explanatory power to the Demographic variables traditionally used in such models. It appears that, far from being completely determined by demographically based needs, the amount of travel demanded is heavily influenced by one's attitudes toward travel. This is not only true for discretionary (entertainment) purposes, as would be expected, but for more "mandatory" purposes such as work/school-related activities as well. We are convinced that the demand for travel arises from a fundamental human need for mobility and other subjective characteristics, as well as from the external causes typically measured. To more accurately forecast travel demand and policy response, the role of those subjective characteristics needs to be understood much better than it is at present.

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  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:uctcwp:qt5bh2d8mh

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lothlorien Redmond & Patricia Mokhtarian, 2001. "The positive utility of the commute: modeling ideal commute time and relative desired commute amount," Transportation, Springer, vol. 28(2), pages 179-205, May.
    2. Mokhtarian, Patricia L. & Salomon, Ilan, 2001. "How derived is the demand for travel? Some conceptual and measurement considerations," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 35(8), pages 695-719, September.
    3. Salomon, Ilan & Mokhtarian, Patricia, 1998. "What Happens When Mobility-Inclined Market Segments Face Accessibility-Enhancing Policies?," Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series qt2x75525j, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.
    4. Redmond, Lothlorien S. & Mokhtarian, Patricia L., 2001. "Modeling Objective Mobility: The Impact of Travel-Related Attitudes, Personality and Lifestyle on Distance Traveled," Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series qt05d352fr, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.
    5. Redmond, Lothlorien, 2000. "Identifying and Analyzing Travel-Related Attitudinal, Personality, and Lifestyle Clusters in the San Francisco Bay Area," Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series qt0317h7v4, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.
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