Why do urban travelers select multimodal travel options: A repertory grid analysis

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - urban, ridership - mode choice, ridership - perceptions, planning - surveys


Multimodal travel options, Perceptions of travelers, Determinants of travel mode choice, Repertory grid technique


The increasing number of travelers in urban areas has led to new opportunities for local government and private mobility providers to offer new travel modes besides and in addition to traditional ones. Multimodal travel provides an especially promising opportunity. However, until now the underlying reasons why consumers choose specific alternatives have not been fully understood. Hence, the design of new travel modes is mainly driven by obvious criteria such as environmental friendliness and convenience but might not consider consumers’ real or latent needs. To close this research gap, sixty in-depth interviews with urban travelers were conducted. To identify the perceptual differences of customers among different travel modes, the repertory grid technique as an innovative, structured interview method was applied. Our data show that urban travelers distinguish and select travel alternatives based on 28 perceptual determinants. While some determinants associated with private cars such as privacy, flexibility and autonomy are key indicators of travel mode choice, costs and time efficiency also play a major role. Furthermore, by comparing travel modes to an ideal category, we reveal that some perceptual determinants do not need to be maximized in order to fulfill customer needs optimally. A comparison of consumers’ perceptual assessments of alternative travel modes identifies specific advantages and disadvantages of all alternatives, and provides fruitful implications for government and private mobility providers.


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


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