How does environmental concern influence mode choice habits? A mediation analysis

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

ridership - mode choice, ridership - perceptions


Environmental concern, Mode choice habits, Perceptions of public transport, Motives for car use, Latent variables


Starting from the intuition that people with high environmental concern have a better perception of public transport and therefore a better perception of the utility of public transport, we construct a theoretical model in which the effect of environmental concern on mode choice habits is mediated by the indirect utility of travel. Travel procures the direct utility of providing access to activities, but it also offers an indirect utility that is inherently personal and perceptual. We approach the indirect utility of public transport by measuring perceptions of time and feelings. The indirect utility of the car is approached by measuring affective and symbolic motives. Taking into account car use habits and habits of public transport use, the results show that people who have a high environmental concern perceive public transport use as easier, more useful and more pleasurable than people who do not have that environmental motivation. Such positive attitudes foster public transport use. Conversely, low environmental concern generates non-instrumental motives for car use, such as affective and symbolic motives. However, the relationship between affective and symbolic motives and car use habits is not robust. We can conclude that environmental concern influences mode choice habits and that the effect is partially mediated by perceptions and feelings towards public transport but not significantly by affective and symbolic motives for car use.


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


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