Making plans or “just thinking about the trip”? Understanding people’s travel planning in practice


Åsa Nyblom

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

planning - environmental impact, planning - signage/information, technology - management information systems, technology - passenger information, ridership - behaviour


Travel planning, Travel information, Sustainable social practices, Practice theory


ICT solutions have been proposed as a means for changing environmentally unfavourable traffic behaviour by providing better, real-time and more accessible travel information. However, prevailing models of travel choice and travel behaviour tend to overemphasise the impact and importance of information and the individualistic perspective. The issue of choice and travel planning in everyday life situations, and how information is used and acted on in these processes, was examined in a qualitative study in Stockholm, Sweden. Practice Theory was used as the theoretical framework for the study. Interviews were supplemented with an explorative diary and photo assignment to bring unreflected choices and actions of planning travel to the conscious level.

The results showed that travel planning involves the immediate situation where planning and decisions are made, but also aspirations, cognitive/time/material limitations, social norms and social relations that extend widely in time and space. Definitions of travel planning and travel information based on the situated practices of planning are suggested. In the muddle of everyday life, travel planning takes place in the brief moments where circumstances at different levels – time, place, the social realm - interact and are considered or directly acted upon. In the development of new ICT-based travel information services, the role of technology in changing normal practices should be considered.


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


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