Illuminating the unseen in transit use: A framework for examining the effect of attitudes and perceptions on travel behavior

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, planning - personal safety/crime, ridership - attitudes, ridership - behaviour, ridership - perceptions


Public transportation, Travel behavior, Attitudes, Built environment, Los Angeles


This study develops the Perception–Intention–Adaptation (PIA) framework to examine the role of attitudes, perceptions, and norms in public transportation ridership. The PIA framework is then applied to understand the relative importance of socio-demographic, built environment, transit service, and socio-psychological factors on public transit use for 279 residents of south Los Angeles, California, a predominately low-income, non-white neighborhood. Confirmatory factor analysis based on 21 survey items resulted in six transit-relevant socio-psychological factors which were used in regression models of two measures of transit use: the probability of using transit at least once in the 7-day observation period, and the mean number of daily transit trips. Our analysis indicates that two PIA constructs, attitudes toward public transportation and concerns about personal safety, significantly improved the model fit and were robust predictors of transit use, independent of built environment factors such as near-residence street network connectivity and transit service level. Results indicate the need for combined policy approaches to increasing transit use that not only enhance transit access, but also target attitudes about transit service and perceptions of crime on transit.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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