Existence, relatedness and growth needs as mediators between mode choice and travel satisfaction: evidence from Denmark

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bike, mode - bus, mode - car, mode - subway/metro, place - europe, policy - sustainable, ridership - commuting, ridership - mode choice


Mode choice, Travel satisfaction, Bicycle, Transit, Model of needs, ERG


Understanding the link between mode choice and travel satisfaction is essential for promoting sustainable travel by expanding utility theory to include also the eudaimonic value of travel. The study focuses on the hypothesis that more then it’s functional value of arriving from A to B, mode choice creates travel experiences that answer high-order needs such as relatedness, autonomy and competence. This study enhances the framework for representing travel mode choice by incorporating the model of human needs as the missing link between mode choice and travel satisfaction. By developing and analysing a large-scale survey from the Greater Copenhagen Area in Denmark, this study empirically proves that commuting mode choice relates to travel satisfaction by answering functional, relatedness and growth needs. The Greater Copenhagen area represents a region where transit, bicycle and car each have large modal shares, hence enabling to validate the approach in a multi-modal environment. Higher bicycle satisfaction relates positively to cycling self-concepts and self-efficacy and negatively to car self-concepts. Greater car use satisfaction increases with car self-concepts and transit use difficulties, and decreases with functional difficulties in car use and better cycling self-efficacy. Higher transit satisfaction mainly relates to experiencing difficulties with other modes. These insights can be used when formulating transport policies and prioritising resources aimed at achieving sustainable mobility patterns.


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