Strengthening proenvironmental intentions: Intrinsic interest may support use of transport alternatives to driving alone

For many reasons, communities encourage citizens to reduce automobile use, often using incentives or competitions to encourage the change. While these programs may be effective in temporarily reducing vehicle use, psychological research suggests that such externally motivated behaviors are not likely to endure once the incentive program ends. This article proposes that use of alternative travel modes might be more durable if participants become internally motivated to maintain the behaviors. The study tests the hypothesis that participants who psychologically transform their commute modes into intrinsically interesting trips are more likely to report they intend to continue using their alternative modes. In a month-long Challenge to reduce single occupant vehicle (SOV) use, participants (N = 197) were randomly assigned to three different instruction groups: cognitive elaboration, cognitive dissonance, or community-based social marketing. Data were collected at 4 different times, including a final questionnaire 2 months after the Challenge ended. For all three groups, analyses supported the hypothesis and showed that the relationship from initial commitment to final attitude was mediated by intrinsic interest, specifically, by their reports that they had made their alternative travel modes interesting/fun or productive. The results encourage additional research asking how people can find ways to make transit use more attractive than driving alone.


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  • Accession Number: 01675326
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 2 2018 3:12PM