Role of Social Climate in Habitual Transit Use by Young Adults to Work and Leisure Activities: Evidence from Colombia and Mexico

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, place - south america, ridership - behaviour, ridership - young people, ridership - modelling, ridership - perceptions, ridership - attitudes, planning - surveys, planning - service quality


social climate, transit use, web-based survey, structural equation model


As mobility has increasingly become a vehicle for producing meaning and culture, and public transport has traditionally formed a dense and diverse social climate in which social interactions habitually occur, assessing the relationship between social climate and transit use is extremely important, especially in the younger populations that will shape the future of transport systems. This study proposes a behavioral framework founded on the theory of planned behavior and the social climate model. The study presents a tailor-made, web-based survey and a structural equation model for analyzing transit use as a function of attitudes toward public transport, subjective norms, social ambience in public transport, travel independence and autonomy, family (house) rules, and perceived quality of service. This study focuses on transit systems in cities in North and South America that have a much higher public transport ridership, tighter design standards in terms of personal space, and a higher degree of informal social interaction than transit systems in Europe, where previous studies have been conducted. Estimation results from a structural equations model show that (a) transit use frequency is significantly related to the perceived behavioral control of using transit and the social climate; (b) attitudes, norms, and perceived behavioral control are associated with perceived service quality; (c) gender differences exist in the user experience and appreciation of the social climate in transit; and (d) the residential social climate is linked to the transit social climate.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Transportation Research Board, Washington, copyright remains with them.