Habit discontinuity and student travel mode choice

Overreliance on motorised travel modes aggravates existing problems of public obesity and global climate change. However, travel mode choices are often habitual, and habits are difficult to break, as automatic responses to stable-contexts learnt through repetition. One approach is to destabilise the stable-contexts that cue travel habits. Such an opportunity could arise when people move-house, so the authors predicted that the travel mode choices and habits of university students would change, without a behaviour change intervention, when they moved-house between academic terms. University students (N = 250) completed two questionnaires, around 5.5 months apart, between new academic years; 153 students moved-house (“movers”). As predicted when movers changed their travel mode choices, their new choices became more automatic and their old choices less automatic. Mover’s travel changes were planned prior to moving-house, however there was insufficient evidence that either changes in the social context or activated values were related to travel changes. The authors discuss these findings with respect to acquiring habits and the habit discontinuity and self-activation hypotheses (Verplanken, Walker, Davis, & Jurasek, 2008) and the advantages of student house-hunting as a 'window of opportunity' for establish new travel habits amongst university students.


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01704940
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 13 2019 3:04PM