Analyzing travel captivity by measuring the gap in travel satisfaction between chosen and alternative commute modes

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, ridership - commuting, ridership - perceptions, ridership - behaviour, planning - surveys


Travel satisfaction, commuting, travel captivity


In this study, we investigated travel captivity from the perspective of travel satisfaction. Using survey data from 565 commuters in Portland, Oregon, we compared satisfaction with the most recent commute trip (using the chosen mode) and hypothetical commute satisfaction if using an alternative mode. The difference in travel satisfaction between the chosen and alternative mode – referred to as the travel satisfaction gap – was used as a fine-grained proxy measure of travel captivity. Results indicate that active mode (walk/bicycle) users would be less satisfied when the alternative modes were auto or transit, while auto and transit commuters would be slightly more satisfied if they commuted by walking or bicycling. These outcomes suggest that auto users are most captive, while active travelers are mostly choice users. Results also show that respondents would be more satisfied with an alternative mode if it would enable more talking to other passengers.


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


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