Understanding Young Commuters’ Mode Choice Decision to Use Private Car or Public Transport from an Extended Theory of Planned Behavior

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - australasia, place - urban, ridership - attitudes, ridership - behaviour, ridership - commuting, ridership - mode choice, ridership - young people, planning - surveys


Mode choice, commuting, young people


The research examines young commuters’ (age 18–25 years) decision-making process in choosing a mode to commute. The study presented here characterized young commuters’ travel decisions in relation to choosing to use a private car or public transportation for commuting travel. To contribute to greater understanding, the theory of planned behavior (TPB) was used to investigate commuting mode choice, particularly from a social-psychological perspective. Disaggregated travel data was collected from an in-depth survey of young commuters (n = 3171) who lived in inner and metropolitan Melbourne, Australia. Respondents were clustered based on their usual commuting mode (private car or public transportation). The questionnaire was designed to capture information on young commuters’ attitudes toward their commuting mode, social environment, and travel behavior. Linear regression analysis and binary logistic regression were used to predict intention to choose a commuting mode and the actual mode choice, respectively. Results suggest that young commuters who used a private car held a positive attitude toward the mode. On the contrary, public transportation users had few positive beliefs about commuting by public transportation. Convenience and flexibility were the most valued advantages that the private car offers as a commuting mode. For public transportation users, reliability of the commuting mode was more important than other factors, but they did not agree that public transportation provides reliability. The paper includes a discussion on how the implications of these results can influence government policies and strategies in an effort to increase commuting by public transportation.


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