The role of personal norms in the choice of mode for commuting

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

ridership - behaviour, ridership - commuting, ridership - mode choice, ridership - modelling, policy - environment, policy - sustainable


Travel behaviour, Personal norms, ICLV, Behavioural economics, Travel mode choice


Research in travel behavioural studies have shown that social forces play a significant role in travel decision making like socio-economic factors. Several studies have tested models with different subjective variables to investigate their effects on travel behaviour. Understanding the influence of social norm and personal norm on travel mode choice preference is essential in promoting sustainable travel, considering the reported importance of these social forces in decision-making. This study draws upon the theories underpinning these sociological constructs and the integrated choice and latent variable (ICLV) framework to develop an ICLV model by incorporating social norm and personal norm as latent variables to investigate their impact on transport mode choice decisions. The results of the ICLV model is consistent with the findings in similar studies and extend the literature in transport mode choice modelling. The results indicate that internalised norms or personal norms have a significant influence on individual behaviour, and positively influence travel behaviour. This strengthens the claim that activated norms and pro-environmental behaviour (PEB) influence overt behaviour by inducing a sense of obligations to act. The results also suggest that individuals with pro-environmental attitude are likely to travel with sustainable travel modes. Thus, reinforcing the importance of sociological and psychological factors in decision-making. Unlike studies involving social norms and personal norms, this research is novel because it applies the ICLV framework to empirically investigate the impact of these sociological constructs on travel mode choice behaviour by incorporating them as latent variables in an ICLV model. The contribution of this study to the literature is that it shows that personal norm has a substantial positive impact on sustainable travel. The impact of this study could be situated in the framework of sustainable transport. The findings are relevant for policymaking, the development of policies meant to create awareness of the consequences of travel behaviour could promote the development of strong personal norms, and consequently influence travel decision making. This can be useful for promoting sustainable travel as the findings shed light on the characteristics of individuals most likely to travel by active modes or PT.


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


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