Grouping Travelers on the Basis of Their Different Car and Transit Levels of Use

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

ridership - mode choice, mode - car


Travel behavior, San Francisco Bay Area, Multimodal transportation, Multimodal systems, Mode choice, Modal choice, Market segmented groups, France, Cluster analysis, Choice of transportation, Aggregation


This study explores the usefulness of market segmentation study in which the actual overall mobility levels across different ground transportation modes, along with desired changes in the use of cars and transit, are used as clustering variables. Using a given mode can in fact influence the personal representation of that mode, which in turn has been proven to be a key element in transport behaviors. The authors form such multimodality-based clusters from two field studies, one involving employees of the French transportation research institute INRETS and the other a representative sample of residents of the US San Francisco Bay Area. Findings suggest that strong users of a given mode would like to bring more balance to their "modal consumptions" by decreasing the use of this mode more than the average, and increasing the use of the alternative mode. However, concerning ground transport travel budgets, the desire to travel more (or less) overall seems less strongly related to the composition of the modal balance. The US dataset shows also a greater latent demand for travel than the French one. Socioeconomic characteristics of the clusters could not explain the patterns that were found, which indicates that it is important to take into account multimodality issues in travel behavior research. Policy implications and directions for future research are discussed.