Snap Judgements and Availability Bias in Travel Decisions

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

economics - pricing, economics - willingness to pay, ridership - behaviour, policy - sustainable, planning - surveys


Decision making, Incentives, Payment, Prices, Travel behavior


Past research has explored how travelers make economic decisions, but only a small number of papers look at financial nudges and price anchoring—how they might cause travelers to make snap judgements about value that undermine rational economic principles. This research explores the behavioral response to different kinds of incentives. It finds that, consistent with theory, when presented with two numbers certain individuals will anchor to a higher number and be willing to pay more. Likewise, it finds that certain consumers are not able to quickly make judgements about the cost of travel. When the survey participants were offered daily or monthly payment plans, payments each day were valued almost twice as much as a single payment each month. This offers important policy considerations for public agencies seeking to reduce driving, particularly as new disruptive platforms emerge and new technology allows for more dynamic and curated data to be used to nudge travel behavior.


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