Goal priming, public transportation habit and travel mode selection: The moderating role of trait mindfulness

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - subway/metro, ridership - mode choice, ridership - behaviour


Habit, Mindfulness, Goal priming, Modal choice, Public transportation


Habits in travel mode occur in a stable context and create strong links between travel goals and travel modes in memory. As a consequence, priming a travel goal (i.e., going to a place) in memory increases the accessibility of the associated travel mode among habitual users of this transportation mode. We posit that individual differences in attention to present moment and experience (dispositional mindfulness construct; Brown & Ryan, 2003) could moderate the interaction between travel goal priming and habit strength. In this study, habitual vs. non-habitual users of a subway line were nonconsciously primed with travel goals that were strongly associated with the use of a subway line. In the second part of the study, participants chose, among four travel modes, the one(s) that allowed reaching a specific place. Priming and habit strength contributed non-additively to decision times, but among low-mindfulness participants only. Among non-habitual users, priming speeded decisions at high levels of mindfulness, but slowed decisions at low levels of mindfulness. From a fundamental and applied point of view, discussion focuses on processes crossing habits, non-deliberated responses to environmental cues, and mindfulness.


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


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