The relationship between instrumental, symbolic and affective factors as predictors of car use: A structural equation modeling approach

Traditionally, urban mobility has been studied from the utilitarian or practical viewpoint, focusing on instrumental motivations and ignoring symbolic and affective aspects that may play a relevant role. The purpose of this work is to analyze from a psychosocial perspective the influence of symbolic, affective, and instrumental motivations on the frequency of car use, taking into account diverse reasons for traveling. From a sample of the Spanish population, participants numbered 284 people (50.3% female) with driver's licenses who were car owners and residents in cities of various sizes and completed an anonymous questionnaire. The effect of each type of variable was estimated by a structural equation model. Results indicate that people's affective link with their private vehicle explains 12% of frequency of car use, as a latent variable of different kinds of trips: visiting friends or relatives, going to work or to a study center, going shopping, or to leisure areas. The instrumental advantages associated with cars and thinking that it expresses one's status predict the affective link with the car. These findings corroborate the relevance of the non-instrumental aspects involved in the selection of the means of transportation.


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  • Accession Number: 01146502
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, ATRI
  • Created Date: Nov 24 2009 11:51AM