Understanding Flex-Route Transit Adoption from a Stage of Change Perspective

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - asia, place - urban, ridership - elasticity, ridership - modelling, planning - methods, planning - surveys, policy - congestion, policy - environment


Flex route transit, transtheoretical model, structural equation modelt, partial proportional odds, determinant


Given the potential benefits of flex-route transit for the environment and traffic congestion, many cities have goals for diffusing flex-route transit. However, previous studies have focused on practical experience, strategic planning, and operational planning of flex-route transit. Few studies have identified the determinants of flex-route transit adoption. This study aims to address the effect of demographic characteristics and psychological factors on flex-route transit adoption by employing a stage of change framework. First, the transtheoretical model is applied to divide respondents into five ordered stages (i.e., Precontemplation, Contemplation, Preparation, Action, and Maintenance). Second, a survey was conducted in Beijing, China, using an online platform to obtain the demographic characteristics and measurement items of the respondents in the five ordered stages. Then, a structural equation model is applied to quantify psychological factors. In addition, the partial proportional odds (PPO) model is employed to estimate the best model and identify the determinants of flex-route transit adoption. Finally, an elasticity analysis is conducted to uncover the effect of determinants on flex-route transit adoption in the five ordered stages. The results suggest that the PPO model has the best fit and validity. The model reveals the significant implications of psychological factors and demographic characteristics for transport policy in various stages. These findings show that, regardless of the initial stage, interventions concentrating on psychological factors and demographic characteristics appear to have the potential to transfer the stage of individuals from one to another. To make policies as effective as possible for promoting flex-route transit adoption, the targeted interventions should be complemented in the specific stage.


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