The impacts of residential relocation on commute habits: A qualitative perspective on households’ mobility behaviors and strategies

Travel-behavior researchers have generally acknowledged the important role of life events in disruption of habits and increasing individuals’ tendency to re-evaluate their travel behavior. Research in this area is dominated by the use of quantitative research methods, leading to a gap in understanding of the complexity of subjective factors such as habit strength and the reasons underlying resistance to change. In this study, with a retrospective and qualitative approach, 20 individuals who have relocated their home recently are questioned about factors which affected their commute mode choice before and after the relocation. First, participants were categorized based on the commute mode they used before the relocation to assess habit strengths across modes. Second, participants were presented with a set of green-transport-encouraging policies and evaluated on the extent to which they were willing to adopt these policies based on their habit strength. Accordingly, different typologies of individuals were identified. The levels of travel habit strength were found to be directly related to the willingness to change; strong habits, whether good or bad, are unlikely to change even in the wake of a major life event. By focusing on the habit formation and decay during the period of relocation, this study evaluates travel-related decision-making as a process in an effort to understand how and when sustainable-transportation policies should be promoted for different types of individuals in situations where attentiveness for alternative travel modes is increased. This study on residential relocation informs considerations of changes in travel behavior related to other contextual changes.


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  • Accession Number: 01715693
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 24 2019 5:24PM