Generalized behavioral framework for choice models of social influence: Behavioral and data concerns in travel behavior

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

ridership - behaviour, ridership - demand, ridership - modelling, planning - travel demand management


Travel demand, Discrete choice, Social interactions, Network effects, Social networks


Over the past two decades, transportation has begun a shift from an individual focus to a social focus. Accordingly, discrete choice models have begun to integrate social context into its framework. Social influence, the process of having one’s behavior be affected by others, has been one approach to this integration. This paper provides a review and discussion of the incorporation of social influence into discrete choice models with specific application in travel behavior analysis. The discussion begins with a generalized framework to describe choice models of social influence. This framework focuses on the behavioral microfoundations of social influence and choice by separating the social influence mechanism from the source of its influence and by explicitly acknowledging the role of the social network in the model structure. This contrasts with prior work that focused on the measurement of contextual, endogenous, and correlated effects. Then, the state of the art in travel behavior research is reviewed using a taxonomy based on the generalized framework with research performed in sociology, social psychology, and social network analysis. The discussion then shifts to the importance of understanding the motivations for social influence, and the formation and structure of social networks are explored. Additionally, the challenges of collecting data for social influence studies are mentioned and the paper concludes with a look at the challenges in the field and areas for future research.


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


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