Do people travel with their preferred travel mode? Analysing the extent of travel mode dissonance and its effect on travel satisfaction


Jonas De Vos

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe, ridership - attitudes, ridership - behaviour, ridership - mode choice, mode - bike, mode - bus, mode - car, mode - rail, mode - pedestrian


Travel behaviour, Travel mode choice, Travel attitudes, Travel mode preferences, Travel satisfaction


Numerous studies have indicated that travel mode choice is affected by travel-related attitudes. A positive stance towards a certain travel mode increases the probability that people will choose this mode for a particular trip. However, not a lot of studies have analysed whether people actually choose their preferred travel mode. In this paper we will look at whether respondents with a preference for car use, public transport use, cycling and walking will actually use these modes. Furthermore, we also analyse whether respondents who use their preferred travel mode (i.e., consonant travellers) are more satisfied with their trips compared to respondents travelling with a non-preferred travel mode (i.e., dissonant travellers). Results from this study, analysing leisure trips of 1656 respondents from the city of Ghent (Belgium), indicate that about half of the respondents chooses a non-preferred travel mode and that dissonant travellers can be mainly found within public transport users and least within cyclists, partly due to relatively low levels of public transport attitudes and high levels of cycling attitudes. Furthermore, travel mode dissonance seems to have an important impact on travel satisfaction. Consonant travellers have above average travel satisfaction levels, independent of the used travel mode, while dissonant travellers (except dissonant pedestrians) have below average travel satisfaction levels. This suggests that using a preferred travel mode has at least an equally important impact on travel satisfaction than the chosen travel mode itself.


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


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