Is it possible to attract private vehicle users towards public transport? Understanding the key role of service quality, satisfaction and involvement on behavioral intentions

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - urban, place - europe, planning - service quality, planning - surveys, planning - methods, ridership - behaviour, ridership - modelling


car users, Customer satisfaction, Loyalty, Attitudes towards transit, Mediator, Multiple indicators and multiple causes


This paper contributes to the public transport literature by ascertaining the role of involvement upon the service quality-satisfaction-behavioral intentions paradigm from the point of view of private vehicle users. This is the first study that provides a comprehensive understanding of this framework based on the private vehicle users’ perspective. The added value of this research is that, by using a structural equation modeling approach, it provides a comparison of alternative models and uses data from different samples collected in five large metropolitan areas (Berlin, Lisbon, London, Madrid and Rome) for modeling validation. In addition, a SEM-MIMIC approach was applied for controlling the heterogeneity of data due to specific characteristics of the interviewee (territorial setting, place of residence, demographic and socio-economic characteristics and travel related variables). The findings show that involvement is a full mediator between satisfaction and behavioral intentions, and that satisfaction is a full mediator between service quality and involvement. Furthermore, the SEM-MIMIC results revealed that the four latent factors investigated (service quality, satisfaction, involvement and behavioral intentions) dealt with highly heterogenous data. However, the most important finding is that private vehicle users’ involvement is the factor that contributes most to their behavioral intentions towards public transport. Hence, public transport managers might benefit from these outcomes when establishing detailed policies and specific guidelines for public transport systems to engage private vehicle users in a higher degree of usage of public transport services.


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