The "delay of reinforcement" concept proposes that immediate benefits or disadvantages resulting from one's behavior are more potent and are more likely to affect behavior than delayed benefits or disadvantages. Data from consumer choice of travel modes are used to support this concept; questionnaire results show that the benefits of using a car (e.g., convenience and privacy) are very immediate to the user, whereas the disadvantages (e.g., maintenance costs and pollution) are delayed in time. This environment encourages consumers to buy and use a car rather than alternative transportation modes such as mass transit, for which the benefits are delayed in time (e.g., reduction in pollution and congestion) and the punishers are more immediate (e.g., longer travel times and exposure to poor weather). Consumer behavior is also affected by who actually receives the benefit, the individual or society. The study found that individuals accrued the benefits of car use, whereas society received the disadvantages. In contrast, alternatives to the private car yielded benefits to society, whereas the individual received the majority of the disadvantages. Time delay to benefits or disadvantages is very critical in changing and maintaining consumer behavior, and the consumer must be convinced that he or she is a direct receiver of the benefit that a particular behavior yields.


  • English

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: p. 65-70
  • Monograph Title: Public transportation 1996: planning, management, marketing, new technology, and safety and security
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00725677
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 309062136
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Sep 26 1996 12:00AM