T Garling

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

planning - methods, planning - surveys, ridership - mode choice, mode - mass transit


Transit, Surveys, Public transit, Panel studies, Mode choice, Modal choice, Mass transit, Local transit, Japan, Habits, Field studies, Empirical methods, Choice of transportation, Behavior modification, Before and after studies, Automobile use, Automobile usage, Automobile travel


This paper reports on two field studies that provide empirical support for a previously proposed hypothesis suggesting that frequent choice of a particular travel mode with a positive outcome will result in a habitual or script-based choice of the travel mode. In the first study, a two-wave panel survey was conducted of Japanese university students. The first wave was conducted two months before the students graduated and the second wave was conducted three months after graduation when the students had been employed at different locations. In many cases, the change after graduation resulted in a change of respondents' commuting mode. The increase in frequency of using a travel mode appeared to cause the development of a habit of using this travel mode and weakened the choice of the alternative mode. The results showed that script-based travel mode choice developed in those who had changed travel mode the most. This occurred to the same degree for public transportation choice as for automobile choice. The second study used two-wave panel data from a survey conducted during the eight-day closure of a freeway and again one year later. Findings indicated that frequent drivers who changed to public transit during the closure continued to use public transportation more frequently one year after the closure than did those drivers who did not change to public transportation during the closure. This suggests that the development of script-based choice may be enduring enough to prevent drivers from reverting back to the original travel mode. Results from both these studies support the hypothesis that repeated choices result in the development of a script-based choice.


Transportation Research Part F Home Page: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/13698478