Assessing hierarchy of needs in levels of service

Document Type


Publication Date


Subject Area

planning - surveys, land use - planning, ridership - mode choice


Decision making, Level of service, Mode choice, Needs assessment, Psychological aspects, Stated preferences, Surveys, Transportation planning


The primary focus of this research project was in providing empirical evidence of a Hierarchy of Transportation Needs. The experimental procedure, methodology, and materials for this project were designed using both transportation stated preferences studies as well as the work of Alderfer and his Existence, Relatedness, and Growth (ERG) Theory (1972, 1985). The final product of this research work is the empirical evidence of the ERG theory in transportation needs. This project was a definitive success in providing evidence for the existence of a Hierarchy of Transportation Needs. Without a doubt, participants responded to the survey questions in a manner which supports the existence of a hierarchy in which most participants chose Existence needs over Relatedness needs over Growth needs. It also demonstrated that a lower motivator need not be substantially satisfied before one can move onto higher motivators. Overall, these results are a breakthrough in the Level of Service (LOS) literature, in that it can be stated that people will make certain mode choices and transportation choices based upon a psychological need hierarchy. Future research strategies are suggested to complete the transformation from ERG hierarchy of needs to multi-modal LOS ranking.