An Analysis of Perceived Versus Revealed Active Travel Behavior

Much of the existing research posits that if communities will provide and improve active infrastructure such as trails, sidewalks, and bike lanes, people will become more physically active or will utilize active modes of transportation more frequently. However, many personal characteristics play a role in transportation mode choice decisions. Things such as individual attitudes, habits, and perceptions can have a significant effect on the decisions that people make regarding their travel options. This effect may be even more powerful than the effect of environmental correlates. If transportation policies hope to influence individuals to incorporate active modes of transportation, it is critical to first understand how individual perceptions and attitudes impact revealed behavior in an active mode context. Using a tailored panel survey attached to a built environment intervention, this paper compares individual attitudes, personal characteristics, and perceptions of active travel behavior over time to observed behavioral change among suburban residents. Individuals that claimed that an increase in neighborhood paths/trails would make them walk more showed no significant change in the total number of walking trips taken after a neighborhood trail was in fact installed. Additionally, individuals were unlikely to accurately estimate their change in participation in physical activity over the previous 12 months prior. This research confirms that stated preference and attitudes do not always serve as predictors for actual behavior, and that perceptions regarding active modes of transportation are highly likely to be inaccurate.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: DVD
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 16p
  • Monograph Title: TRB 89th Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers DVD

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01155500
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 10-0820
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Jan 25 2010 10:23AM