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Mode Decisions and Context Change – What About the Attitudes? A Conceptual Framework

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Purpose/value of paper: Theoretical assumptions for explaining travel behaviour changes are frequently limited to disciplinary boundaries. By combining the occurrence of key events with attitudinal dimensions in the ROA model and, furthermore, drawing on the model of cognitive dissonance, an integrated theoretical framework is presented. Methodology/approach: We review several streams of research in different fields of travel behaviour research and develop a theoretical framework for guiding future empirical work on travel behaviour research. Findings: The theoretical framework proposes that due to a key event a window of opportunity opens for behavioural change and adaptation processes of attitudes and behaviour. Research limitations/implications: Further empirical research will have to show the validity and usefulness of the theoretical framework developed. A panel data analysis is proposed with attitudinal variables before and after a certain key event.
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Sustainable Urban Transport
Mode Decisions and Context Change – What About the Attitudes? A Conceptual
Framework
Annika Busch-Geertsema Martin Lanzendorf
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To cite this document: Annika Busch-Geertsema Martin Lanzendorf . "Mode
Decisions and Context Change – What About the Attitudes? A Conceptual Framework"
In Sustainable Urban Transport. Published online: 14 May 2015; 23-42.
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CHAPTER 3
MODE DECISIONS AND CONTEXT
CHANGE WHAT ABOUT THE
ATTITUDES? A CONCEPTUAL
FRAMEWORK
Annika Busch-Geertsema and Martin Lanzendorf
ABSTRACT
Purpose Theoretical assumptions for explaining travel behaviour
changes are frequently limited to disciplinary boundaries. By combining
the occurrence of key events with attitudinal dimensions in the ROA
model and, furthermore, drawing on the model of cognitive dissonance,
an integrated theoretical framework is presented.
Methodology/approach We review several streams of research in
different fields of travel behaviour research and develop a theoretical fra-
mework for guiding future empirical work on travel behaviour research.
Findings The theoretical framework proposes that due to a key event
a window of opportunity opens for behavioural change and adaptation
processes of attitudes and behaviour.
Research limitations/implications Further empirical research will
have to show the validity and usefulness of the theoretical framework
Sustainable Urban Transport
Transport and Sustainability, Volume 7, 2342
Copyright r2015 by Emerald Group Publishing Limited
All rights of reproduction in any form reserved
ISSN: 2044-9941/doi:10.1108/S2044-994120150000007012
23
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developed. A panel data analysis is proposed with attitudinal variables
before and after a certain key event.
Keywords: Key event; life course; mode choice; attitude; cognitive
dissonance
INTRODUCTION
Daily mobility decisions are strongly mediated by habits as they simplify
the process of decision making. However at certain moments in life, at so
called key events, habits are interrupted through changes in different life
domains, for example through the birth of the first child or a residential
relocation. Because of these changing circumstances, a window of opportu-
nity is opening for behavioural change, like for example, changes in mode
decisions. But how exactly does that work? Which influences have mobility-
related attitudes on travel mode decisions before and after such a context
change? How do those attitudes and (new) spatial contexts interact?
In this contribution we assemble and combine several streams for the
understanding of the complex process of travel behaviour change. The the-
oretical framework of our work is based on the one hand on the weakening
and break of habits through key events in life course (Lanzendorf, 2003).
On the other hand, we use the requirements, opportunities and abilities
(ROA) model (Harms, 2003) to understand the relevant factors for travel
mode choice. The ROA model includes both internal and external factors
for explaining travel choices: the individual life situation, personal values,
the subjective norm perceived and formed by the social context and, exter-
nal mobility conditions like the quality of infrastructure. Drawing on the
theory of cognitive dissonance (Festinger, 1957), we maintain that if mode
choice and attitudes were dissonant before a key event, the individual tries
to harmonise those two inconsistent cognitions by either changing beha-
viour or changing attitudes. The ultimate objective of this contribution is
to add another piece to the puzzle of understanding travel behaviour
changes by combining different theoretical models and in particular by
focusing on the attitudinal dimension to explain changing travel mode
choices after a context change.
We will argue that an improved understanding of travel behaviour
changes and related processes during phases of key events is needed for
more efficient shaping of adequate interventions and that this requires a
strengthening of the theoretical and interdisciplinary assumptions of travel
24 ANNIKA BUSCH-GEERTSEMA AND MARTIN LANZENDORF
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behaviour research. The theoretical framework presented in this chapter
may provide the starting point for future empirical work and, following
that, measures to promote sustainable mobility behaviour.
The remainder of this contribution is structured as follows. First, we
start with an overview of deliberate mode choice decisions by considering
situational as well as personal factors and introducing the ROA model.
Following that, we address attitudes and their influence on mode choice
and focus especially on attitudinal change with the theory of cognitive dis-
sonance. By bringing in key events in the following section, we indicate spe-
cific moments in life, when habits are weakened and cognitions may
change. Ultimately, we bring together the different concepts and develop
our conceptual framework before we conclude with a short discussion and
an outlook on the need for further research.
MODE CHOICE DECISIONS
In the scientific debate on mode choice decisions starting back in the begin-
ning of the 1970s (Harms, Lanzendorf, & Prillwitz, 2007), a multitude of
assumptions and theories exists. Important for the individual mode choice
decision are situational as well as personal factors. Personal factors are
often divided into socio-demographic characteristics and psychological
variables (Hunecke, Haustein, Grischkat, & Bo
¨hler, 2007). In the following,
we therefore shed some light on all types of influencing factors, but focus
on the individual ones. On this basis, we introduce the requirements,
opportunities and abilities (ROA) model.
Situational Factors
Situational factors include attributes of the personal areas of activity in
terms of space, time and facilities and are thereby determining behavioural
options. As situational factors, we summarise (1) a land-use component,
(2) a transport component and (3) a temporal component following the
accessibility concept of Geurs and van Wee (2004). The land-use compo-
nent affects the transport demand, as it determines the amount, quality and
spatial distribution of relevant destinations. The transport component
reflects the transport system and therefore the supply and location of trans-
port infrastructure as well as quality characteristics such as speed, cost and
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comfort. The temporal component comprises the temporal constraints,
which allow or inhibit activities such as business hours of a shopping
opportunity or constraints due to the personal schedule (Geurs & van Wee,
2004).
Focussing on the demand side of transport and at the individual level,
Ha
¨gerstrand (1970) identified several constraints, which restrict peoples tra-
vel behaviour and hence, he developed the time-space concept. Following
that, individual travel behaviour is limited by the distance a person can
reach in a certain time (capability constraints), by private and business
schedules (coupling constraints) and by entrance restrictions (authority
constraints). A further research field, where spatial factors meet the indivi-
dual, appears through the discussion around residential self-selection,
meaning whether urban form and transport characteristics of the neigh-
bourhood are directly influencing mode choice or whether people
are already taking those characteristics into account when moving to or
deciding to stay in a neighbourhood (Bagley & Mokhtarian, 2002;Bohte,
Maat, & van Wee, 2009;Cao, Mokhtarian, & Handy, 2009;Schwanen &
Mokhtarian, 2005). Therefore, situational factors always have to be seen
against the background of personal factors and travel behaviour cannot
only be explained by the built environment. This reflects also in the accessi-
bility model of Geurs and van Wee (2004), where the fourth and so far not
mentioned individual component completes the system.
Personal Factors
The group of personal factors affecting travel behaviour can be divided
into external and internal factors (Gather, Kagermeier, & Lanzendorf,
2008). External factors, such as socio-demographics or income characteris-
tics, can be measured easily in most cases, since they can be observed. Most
statistics and transport models consider those factors and derive results
such as women driving less by car compared to men or that the rich do
more likely own a car than the poor (e.g. national travel surveys such as
‘Mobility in Germany’).
The situation appears more difficult when it comes to internal or attitu-
dinal factors (Hunecke et al., 2007), such as attitudes, norms, needs or pre-
ferences. The identification and measurement of internal factors is
complicated: disagreement in research led to different definitions and theo-
retical approaches. Further, the empirical work on it is technically challen-
ging and therefore often leads to unequal operationalisation depending on
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the research context, questions and methodologies employed. External and
internal factors, however, should not be seen as being independent from
another. Bergstad et al. (2011), for example, argued that attitudes mediate
the effects of socio-demographics on travel behaviour.
Different mode choice models have been developed in the last decades.
Due to the complexity of factors affecting travel behaviour, every model
simplifies the decision process. Since researchers frequently belong to differ-
ent scientific disciplines, they usually focus on one category of factors and
neglect or under-represent others. For example, classical discrete choice
models mostly neglect attitudinal factors, whereas psychological models
often do not take into account external or situational factors (Harms, 2003;
van Acker, van Wee, & Witlox, 2010).
Theory of Planned Behaviour and Requirements, Opportunities, Abilities
Developed in psychology, the theory of planned behaviour (TPB) (Ajzen,
1991;Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975) has been employed frequently in travel mode
choice studies in the last years. With the underlying assumption of a ration-
ally deciding individual, the TPB explains mode choices by (1) the personal
attitudes towards the behaviour in question, (2) the subjective norm and
(3) the perceived behavioural control (PBC) in the choice situation. The
subjective norm refers to ‘the person’s perception of social pressure to per-
form or not perform the behavior under consideration’ (Ajzen, 2005,p.118)
and the PBC encompasses the subjective belief to be able to perform the
action of interest. These three constructs, the attitudes, the subjective norm
and the PBC affect the intention to perform a behaviour and, ultimately,
the behaviour itself (Ajzen, 1991, 2005). However, in non-psychological dis-
ciplines, the TPB is often criticised because situational factors were
neglected or under-represented (Harms, 2003;van Acker et al., 2010).
Therefore, the ROA model was developed, taking this criticism into
account (Harms, 2003). Originating from consumer research in the 1980s
(Andrews, 1988;Maclnnis & Jaworski, 1989;Robben & Poiesz, 1993), Vlek,
Jager, and Steg (1997) applied the forerunner model of the ROA, the needs,
opportunities and abilities (NOA) model in environmental psychology.
Harms (2003) merged the NOA model with the TPB, thereby creating
the requirements, opportunities and abilities (ROA) model and applied it
to her study on joining a car-sharing organisation. The TPB is a simple,
often employed and proven model to explain conscious decision making.
By integrating the core elements of the TPB, the ROA model uses
27Mode Decisions and Context Change What About the Attitudes?
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psychological internal variables on the one hand, and on the other, by add-
ing the new NOA components, it also includes the relevant context and,
therefore, the situational factors as well as external personal factors.
In the ROA model, three elements precede the TPB determinants:
(1) mobility requirements, (2) mobility opportunities and (3) mobility abilities.
Together with the construct values, the requirements and opportunities
affect the attitude towards the use of the transport mode. Similarly,
the opportunities and abilities affect the PBC. One’s life situation and the
surrounding mobility conditions influence the requirements, opportunities
and abilities (Fig. 1).
As the renaming of the ‘R’-element from ‘motivation’ (Robben &
Poiesz, 1993) to ‘needs’ (Vlek et al., 1997) to ‘requirements’ (Harms,
2003)shows that researchers disagree on the degree of urgency of mobi-
lity demand. For applying the model to quantitative research, however, it is
useful to narrow down the broad concept of needs, which Vlek (2000) in
the NOA measured with 15 indicators of well-being and quality of life.
Furthermore, many of these indicators overlap with the social construct
values. Values in the ROA model are derived from the TPB and in general,
defined as a conception of what is desirable. While attitudes relate to
objects, people or situations, values are broader and abstract notions and
hence, more general than attitudes (Bordens & Horowitz, 2000). In the
Theory of planned
behaviour
Behaviour
Attitude towards
use of transport
mode
Abilities
Opportunities
Requirements
Social
environment
Mobility
conditions
(Own) life
situation
R
A
O
Intention
Values
Perceived
behavioural
control
Subjective
norm
Fig. 1. The ROA Model. Source:Harms (2003, p. 193), own translation and
modification.
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ROA model, values include, among others, comfort, pleasure, privacy, sta-
tus, safety and control which thus, more object-related, come into the con-
cept via the attitudes towards a transport mode.
In the ROA model, requirements are defined as the subjectively per-
ceived demand of mobility on the individual’s level (Harms, 2003) such as
time or distance constraints. The terms opportunity and ability are closer
to each other but do not mean the same. Mobility opportunities are
environment-related (Robben & Poiesz, 1993) and ‘can be seen as a set of
external facilitating conditions, such as the objective availability of goods,
materials and services, their accessibility, the relevant information that is
available, and prices’ (Gatersleben & Vlek, 1998, p. 147). Mobility abilities,
however, are more person-related skills (Robben & Poiesz, 1993), that
enable a person legally, physically and financially to perform a behaviour
(Harms, 2003).
A similar concept has been developed and employed by Thøgersen
(2006, 2009) with the motivation, opportunity and ability concept. Similar
to Harms, Thøgersen integrates the TPB into a framework existing of indi-
vidual and external constraints. However, he sees the elements of the TPB
as the motivation part, whereas in the ROA the three elements (require-
ments, opportunity and ability) come prior to the elements of the TPB.
Using similar determinants (motivation, opportunity and capacity),
Morel, Poiesz, and Wilke (1997) developed the Triad model. The authors
name several underlying assumptions such as a multiplicative relationship
among the three determinants and the precondition of reaching some mini-
mum level of all three determinants simultaneously for the engagement in a
particular behaviour to be possible. Furthermore, they underline the impor-
tance of the subjective assessment of the factors for an engagement in the
behaviour in question and the combination of subjective assessment and
objective constraints when it comes to determining whether or not the
behaviour will be expressed. However, they see the three determinants as
exhaustive, which is not the case for the ROA model, where the subjective
norm is not dependent from requirements, opportunities and abilities.
ATTITUDES AND MODE CHOICE
Attitudes are personal factors affecting travel behaviour. In this section, we
first summarise findings from the psychological literature on attitudes.
Next, we examine how attitudes are applied in travel behaviour research
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and, since the chapter focuses on a longitudinal perspective, how attitude
changes over time can be explained with the theory of cognitive dissonance.
Definition of Attitudes in Psychology
In social psychology, we usually discern three different types of definition
for attitudes: the one-component, two-component and three-component
attitude models (Hogg & Vaughan, 2008).
First, Thurstone specifies attitude as ‘the affect for or against a psycholo-
gical object’ (Thurstone, 1931, p. 261). In this one-component model, affect
can have a positive or a negative form and can be more or less intense.
Second, a bit more complex, emerges the definition derived from
Allport’s theory (1954). He understood attitude as ‘a state of mental readi-
ness, or an implicit predisposition, that has a generalising and consistent
influence on evaluative (judgemental) responses’ (Hogg & Vaughan, 2008,
p. 149). The two components of attitude are (1) the state of mental readi-
ness that leads to (2) an evaluation of an object. Eagly and Chaiken see
attitude in a similar way as ‘a psychological tendency that is expressed by
evaluating a particular entity with some degree of favour or disfavour’
(Eagly & Chaiken, 1993,p.1).
Third, the three-component attitude model brings in three parts in which
attitudes are often structured: (1) affective, (2) cognitive and (3) beha-
vioural components (Rosenberg & Hovland, 1960). Attitude is then defined
as ‘a relatively enduring organisation of beliefs, feelings and behavioural
tendencies towards socially significant objects, groups, events or symbols’
(Hogg & Vaughan, 2008, p. 150). Although, or even because of its compre-
hensiveness, this definition is often criticised as implying a strong causal
relationship between attitude and behaviour, which some researchers ques-
tion (Hogg & Vaughan, 2008). Eagly and Chaiken (1993) employ in their
standard work on the psychology of attitudes the ‘three classes of evalua-
tive responses but eschew the formality of a three-component model of atti-
tudes’ (Eagly & Chaiken, 1993, p. 14) since they observe obstacles in the
statistically sound distinction of the three components.
At least three factors influence the strength of the relationship between
attitude and behaviour: (1) situational factors (e.g. mood of the moment,
strength and cognitive accessibility of attitude), (2) personal factors (e.g.
idealism, self-awareness, self-monitoring) and (3) methodological reasons
in the data collection (e.g. a specific attitude potentially forecasts behaviour
better than a more general attitude) (Gollwitzer & Schmitt, 2009).
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Implementation and Operationalisation of Attitudes in Mobility Research
Transport researchers are either interested in attitudes towards travelling in
general (e.g. ‘Travelling is safe’), towards a specific travel mode
(e.g. ‘Bicycling is safe’) or in a specific situation (e.g. ‘on my way to work’).
Additionally, sometimes more general attitudes or, as defined above, values
are used (e.g. ‘We live in a safe world’ or ‘Safety is important to me’).
The research on travel behaviour attitudes distinguishes three dimen-
sions of attitudes affecting travel behaviour: (1) instrumental, (2) affective
and (3) symbolic ones. First, instrumental attitudes are derived from
cognitive-reasoned behaviour models (Steg, Vlek, & Slotegraaf, 2001) and
were for many years the focus of travel behaviour research (Gatersleben,
2007). They may be further classified into (a) rather short-term, individual
ones relating to a particular trip such as convenience, flexibility or mone-
tary costs, and (b) rather longer term, collective ones such as health, fitness
and the environment (Anable & Gatersleben, 2005). Second, affective attri-
butes are emotions evoked by travelling, for example stress, excitement and
pleasure (Anable & Gatersleben, 2005). Third, symbolic and social attri-
butes are mentioned in the literature (Steg, 2005), which are sometimes
combined with the affective dimension to one category (e.g. Bergstad et al.,
2011;Hunecke et al., 2007;Steg et al., 2001). Steg argues that ‘people can
express themselves and their social position by means of (the use of) their
car, [and] they can compare their (use of the) car with others and to social
norms’ (Steg, 2005, pp. 149150). Hunecke (2000) subdivides the symbolic,
respectively symbolic-affective dimension, into four dimensions: autonomy,
status, excitement and privacy, which ‘depend strongly on processes of
social interpretation’ (Haustein & Hunecke, 2007, p. 1859). Unlike
Hunecke, who understands independence, or as he writes autonomy, as
part of the symbolic or symbolic-affective dimension, Bergstad et al. (2011)
argue that independence is rather an instrumental attitude. They under-
stand independence as a need playing a ‘more important role for car use in
rural areas and for multi-person households with children but a weaker
role for members of younger, urban, or single households’ (Bergstad et al.,
2011, p. 34).
Not surprisingly, some correlations between the instrumental, affective
and symbolic dimensions of travel related attitudes have been discovered in
earlier research. However, the results do not allow any conclusions for a cau-
sal relationship assumed from instrumental attitudes to affective or symbolic
ones (Gatersleben, 2007). Schuitema, Anable, Skippon, and Kinnear (2013)
show with the case of intention to adopt an electric vehicle, that the effects
31Mode Decisions and Context Change What About the Attitudes?
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of instrumental factors are mediated by affective and symbolic attributes.
Furthermore, the impact of instrumental, affective and symbolic factors on
travel behaviour depends also on the specific choice situation. For example,
Anable and Gatersleben (2005) put forward that instrumental attitudes are
more important for work trips while the affective and symbolic dimensions
are more important for mode choices on leisure trips. This finding supports
more general findings of research in psychology acknowledging that atti-
tudes explain behaviour much better if they are more related to the specific
behaviour in question (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1973).
Attitude Change
For every person, his or her attitudes are relatively stable over time, espe-
cially accessible attitudes come to mind more easily and are likely to be
stronger (Gollwitzer & Schmitt, 2009;Hogg & Vaughan, 2008).
Nevertheless, attitudes may change over time. Moreover, daily experience
may affect specific attitudes, especially when the attitudes are weaker. For
example, a respondent’s attitude towards public transport may be affected
by a bad experience a few hours ago, for example, a delay of a train. Thus,
for the respondent the reliability of public transport may be more impor-
tant in this moment than at another day when the train was on time.
Therefore, the assessment of attitudinal changes is a particular challenge
for research.
Attitudes may either change by convincing arguments of others (persua-
sive communications) or by experiencing a behaviour that affects one’s atti-
tude (compliance, conformity) (Hogg & Vaughan, 2008). The internal
process of attitudinal change can take two routes: First, attitude change is
a response to feelings, heuristics, conditioning or social identification,
for example because an expert, a peer group or a friend has this attitude
(e.g. elaboration likelihood model, heuristic-systematic model). Second,
attitude change may result from a cognitive effort with the gathering and
processing of relevant information (e.g. message-learning approach)
(Bohner, 2003;Cacioppo, Petty, & Crites, 2012;Eagly & Chaiken, 1993).
Theory of Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitions are a central concept in psychology. In general terms, we under-
stand them as content of consciousness, which includes (1) perceptions,
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(2) thinking processes, (3) opinions and attitudes and (4) behaviours
(Gollwitzer & Schmitt, 2009). The theory of cognitive dissonance
(Festinger, 1957) is one of the most frequently applied and cited theories in
social psychology (Cooper, 2012;Hogg & Vaughan, 2008). It states that
people prefer to adjust their attitudes with actual behaviour. If attitude and
behaviour are conflicting, an unpleasant state of arousal is created and the
person tries to reduce this so-called cognitive dissonance. To create a cogni-
tive consonance, meaning to harmonise the cognitions, people tend to add
new or change cognitions (Festinger, 1957). One example adapted to mobi-
lity research may illustrate this. Let us assume that Mr Smith does not like
using public transport and usually drives to work by car (cognition 1: ‘I do
not like using public transport’). If Mr Smith’s car is broken and he has to
use the bus (cognition 2: ‘I go to work by public transport’), both cogni-
tions are conflicting and a cognitive dissonance arises. To reduce this disso-
nance, he can add a new cognition to make his whole system of cognitions
more consonant (e.g. cognition 3: ‘I do not have the money to repair the
car’). Now, he can keep cognition 1 as there is an excusing reason, the dis-
sonant behaviour is justified. Another possibility to reduce the dissonance
is to change one of the conflicting cognitions: either the attitude (‘Public
transport also has advantages’) or the behaviour (e.g. paying the money for
the car repair and continuing driving by car).
However, cognitive dissonances and, thus, the impulse to reduce it, only
develop if several preconditions are matched. The two cognitions, in our case
attitude and behaviour, must stand in a relevant relation and the person
must be aware of it (Festinger, 1957). Following a revised cognitive disso-
nance model, it is important, if this counter-attitudinal behaviour does have
negative consequences and if those are attributed to the behaviour. Further,
the voluntariness of the behaviour needs to be given (Cooper, 2012).
As it may be a strategy to change one’s cognitions to get cognitive conso-
nance, it might as well occur that cognitions are generated or changed due
to changing conditions in one’s life situation or in the environment. Besides
the change of the two conflicting cognitions, a third way of reducing the dis-
sonance is mentioned by Festinger: The changing of an environmental cog-
nitive element. Usually, it is not that easy to change environmental
cognitive elements as one must have a degree of control over one’s physical
or social environment (Festinger, 1957). But, thinking for example of relo-
cation, this change of environmental cognitive elements seems to be much
more plausible. These changes may lead to changes in mobility require-
ments, opportunities and abilities and thus, may bring along new cognitive
dissonances and/or chances to reduce those.
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HABITS, KEY EVENTS AND MODE CHOICE
Daily mode choice is strongly influenced by habits. Similar to the forma-
tion of attitudes, the formation of habits is a mechanism to make life easier.
By not spending too many cognitive resources on everyday tasks, one does
not need to re-evaluate every day which mode of transport her or she will
take to go to work (Ga
¨rling & Axhausen, 2003). Instead, the complexity of
daily decision making is reduced by habitual behaviours activated with cer-
tain cues. Empirical work on the importance of habit first evolved in the
1960s, but the topic did not gain momentum until the 1990s. Today, the
importance of habit in travel behaviour is widely acknowledged (Aarts,
Verplanken, & van Knippenberg, 1998;Ga
¨rling & Axhausen, 2003;
Oullette & Wood, 1998;Verplanken, Aarts, van Knippenberg, & van
Knippenberg, 1994).
If the behavioural context changes (e.g. the physical environment with
its spatial, social and time components (Verplanken, Walker, Davis, &
Jurasek, 2008), the cues that activated habitual behaviour may not work
anymore (Wood, Tam, & Guerrero Witt, 2005). Therefore, decisions are
made more deliberately and behavioural intentions become more important
(Verplanken et al., 2008). Thus, context changes may modify the mobility
requirements, opportunities and abilities of a person and, ultimately,
changes in attitudes or in the PBC may result. In literature, this moment is
often called a window of opportunity (Franke, 2001), since at this moment
or phase a person may be more open for behaviour-relevant information
and thus, for a behavioural change, for example towards more sustainable
behaviour. In this respect, Verplanken et al. (2008) put forward the habit
discontinuity hypothesis.
Since context changes may affect travel behaviour, the term key event
(Lanzendorf, 2003;Scheiner, 2007;van der Waerden, Timmermans, &
Borgers, 2003) has appeared in the last decade. A key event is defined ‘as a
major event in a personal life that will trigger a process of reconsidering
current behaviour’ (van der Waerden et al., 2003, p. 2). Sometimes we also
find the term life (course) event derived from psychology (e.g. de Groot,
Mulder, Das, & Manting, 2011;Klo
¨ckner, 2005).
Key events can be foreseeable, planned or come suddenly. They may
relate to travel directly or indirectly (Klo
¨ckner, 2005) and they can happen
at a certain point in time, but can also last longer forming a phase
(Scheiner & Holz-Rau, 2013b). Behaviour may also adapt delayed to
the key event (Chatterjee, Sherwin, Jain, Christensen, & Marsh, 2012;
34 ANNIKA BUSCH-GEERTSEMA AND MARTIN LANZENDORF
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Dargay, 2001). However, the perception of a context change as a key event
is subjective (Klo
¨ckner, 2005).
Busch-Geertsema, Lanzendorf, Mu
¨ggenburg, and Wilde (2015) discern
three categories of key events (1) personal biography, (2) long-term mobi-
lity decisions and (3) exogenous interventions. First, events in the personal
biography encompass private, job-related and leisure trajectories
(Lanzendorf, 2003). Private key events are, among others, the birth of a
child (Lanzendorf, 2010), starting or ending a relationship, marriage,
divorce and death of the partner or, more simply, changes in the number of
household members (Beige & Axhausen, 2012;Dargay & Hanly, 2004;
Scheiner & Holz-Rau, 2013a). Less frequently investigated is the case of
job-related key events such as ending apprenticeship or education and
starting work life (Fuji & Ga
¨rling, 2003), changing jobs (Beige &
Axhausen, 2012;Prillwitz, & Lanzendorf, 2006) or retirement (Evandrou,
Falkingham, & Green, 2010;Hjorthol, Levin, & Sire
´n, 2010). Second, long-
term mobility decisions are key events such as residential relocations
(Bamberg, 2006;de Groot et al., 2011;Kley, 2011;Scheiner & Holz-Rau,
2013b) and changes in mobility tools (Beige & Axhausen, 2008, 2012;
Harms, 2003;Prillwitz & Lanzendorf, 2006;Scheiner & Holz-Rau, 2013a).
Third, exogenous interventions relate either to the individual or the spatial
level. Individual exogenous interventions are, for instance, incentives for
behavioural changes such as free or reduced tickets for public transport
(Bamberg, Ro
¨lle, & Weber, 2003;Fujii & Kitamura, 2003;Thøgersen,
2009) or rewarding the avoidance of driving during rush hours (Ben-Elia &
Ettema, 2011). An example for spatial interventions is a (temporary)
change in infrastructure such as the closure of a freeway (Fuji & Ga
¨rling,
2003).
The interaction of habits and key events was analysed in a study by
Klo
¨ckner and Matthies (2011). With a three-wave panel study, they sur-
veyed car use, habit, personal norm (‘activated feelings of moral obligation
to act environmentally friendly’, p. 15) and PBC of 277 students from three
German universities. Over the three waves conducted every four to five
months, personal norm and PBC were the most stable. The correlation
between car use and habit was strong, whereas the correlation between
PBC and personal norm simply interpreted the deliberated part of mode
choice was weaker. Interestingly, Klo
¨ckner and Matthies (2011) found a
cross-lagged effect. In one of the three university towns they discovered a
disruption of the correlation of habit and car use, which they attribute to
the introduction of a public transport season ticket for students. A question
35Mode Decisions and Context Change What About the Attitudes?
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that remains unanswered is what influence intention had on car use after
the key event of introducing the semester ticket.
Verplanken et al. (2008) brought together attitudes and key events in a
survey conducted with 433 employees from a British university with regard
to their mode choice, environmental concern and the date of their last resi-
dential relocation. They grouped the participants into 2 ×2 groups: people
with high or low environmental concern and people who moved within the
last year and people who did not. They found no main effect of car use
between people who moved and people who did not. Participants with high
environmental concern drove less than people with a low environmental
concern. A comparison of all four groups, however, gives evidence for our
assumption, that if mode choice and attitudes were dissonant before a key
event, the individual tries to harmonise those two inconsistent cognitions
by either changing behaviour or changing attitudes. Car use of people who
recently moved and with a high environmental concern was significantly
lower than car use of all three other groups, including the non-movers with
a high environmental concern. ‘If our results reflect a genuine spontaneous
shift in modal split (i.e. a change without an intervention of any sort), this
may at least demonstrate that environmentally concerned individuals are
more receptive to act upon their values when they face a situation of con-
text change’ (Verplanken et al., 2008, p. 125f.). Taking the theory of cogni-
tive dissonance into consideration, a higher consonance of cognitions
between environmental concern and behaviour exists after the key event
relocation than before.
Bringing the theories and results of the studies mentioned above
together, we derive a conceptual framework of how a key event affects tra-
vel behaviour with special regard towards attitudes (Fig. 2). Before the key
event becomes important, everyday travel behaviour is mainly guided by
routines. With the entrance of a key event (or in preparation to it), we often
observe changes in the life situation on the one hand and changes of the
surrounding mobility conditions on the other. Habits may not work
New travel
behaviour
Previous travel
behaviour
Key event leads to… ROA model Theory of cognitive
dissonance
Change of life
situation and
mobility
conditions
Break of habits
Deliberate
decision making
Evaluation of
travel behaviour
Adjustment of
attitudes and
travel behaviour
Fig. 2. Conceptual Framework: How a Key Event Affects Travel Behaviour.
36 ANNIKA BUSCH-GEERTSEMA AND MARTIN LANZENDORF
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anymore to the same extent as before because requirements, opportunities
and abilities have changed. When habits are weakened, deliberate decision
making comes to the forefront. The person now thinks actively about the
travel behaviour in question and is more open to new information which
may further change mobility opportunities or attitudes (i.e. by mobility
management campaign for new citizens or parents-to-be). Furthermore,
attitudes and behaviour are directly connected in the process of active deci-
sion making, which is not compulsory for habitual behaviour. Therefore,
cognitive dissonances between attitudes and behaviour can arise when eval-
uating one’s behaviour and the (maybe unconscious) process of reducing
those dissonances may automatically be triggered. This leads to the
assumption that it is more likely that travel behaviour will change in con-
nection to a key event rather than changing without it. Furthermore, when
cognitive dissonance between behaviour and attitude exists before the key
event, we expect adjustment processes in both directions, towards the atti-
tude or towards the behaviour, and therefore less appearance of cognitive
dissonances after the key event.
DISCUSSION, CONCLUSION AND
FURTHER RESEARCH
In the previous sections, we presented the ROA model as a theoretical fra-
mework for the analysis of travel behaviour change over time. The ROA
model combines both internal and external factors as explanations: perso-
nal values and attitudes, the subjective norm, the perceived behavioural
control, all are seen in the background of the individual life situation, the
social context and the external mobility conditions.
Furthermore, we shed light on the weakening of habits through key
events in the life course. With context changes, a window of opportunity is
opened for behavioural change. We assume that a key event usually leads
to changing circumstances of the ROA. Inspired by the theory of cognitive
dissonance, we suppose that this may lead to changes in cognitions and
therefore might bring along behavioural adaptions as well. Following the
assumption that in the period before a key event takes place, behaviour is
guided more strongly by habit than by deliberate mode choice decisions;
we also suspect that attitudes are not always in line with behaviour. Due to
key events, not only a ‘window of opportunity’ for behavioural change, but
also for attitudinal change will open and we expect adaption processes in
37Mode Decisions and Context Change What About the Attitudes?
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both ways. We assume less behavioural change, when habit is strong and
less attitudinal changes, when attitudes are strong.
To verify or falsify those hypotheses, empirical research is needed.
Therefore, it would seem logical to conduct a longitudinal study, analys-
ing behaviour and attitudes before and after a key event. As such an
empirical study would have to focus on attitudes, conducting a panel is
clearly preferable, as it is problematic to survey especially attitudinal data
retrospectively.
The results emerging from such research will disclose, whether there are
adaption processes, in which direction and after which circumstances they
appear and therefore will be essential for mobility management. A better
understanding of the interaction between mobility-related attitudes and
mode choice before and after key events provides a valuable contribution
for sustainable mobility management and aids in shaping adequate inter-
ventions in the future more efficiently. We hope to gain insight how and
when mobility management tools can persuade attitudes or affect beha-
viour specifically in phases of changing contexts or even before a key event
starts.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
This research has been funded by the Scholarship Programme of the
German Federal Environmental Foundation (Deutsche Bundesstiftung
Umwelt).
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... For example, the integrated model has been applied to such issues as the selection of sustainable transportation, the use of public transportation, the choice of shared transportation, and the choice of tourist transportation. These studies also show that psychological factors play a considerable role in choosing one among two or more modes of transportation (Long, Choocharukul, and Nakatsuji 2011;Busch-Geertsema and Lanzendorf 2015). ...
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The logistics environment between China and Korea has been changing rapidly in line with the ‘Go West’ policy of international trade and logistics area. The policy includes the BRI, Western Development Strategy, and Korea–China FTA. Against this background, the Korea–China train ferry (KCTF) is being newly illuminated as an alternative mode to cope with the logistics environment between Korea and China. One of the key success factors of the KCTF depends on, among others, shippers’ perception, which will affect the choice and the successful operation of the KCTF. From this perspective, this paper develops seven hypotheses based on the Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) and Technology Acceptance Model (TAM). We test these hypotheses using Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) to explore the structural relationship between shippers’ behavioral beliefs influencing the perceived usefulness, the attitude toward and intention to choose the KCTF. The test results confirm that among the behavioral beliefs, transport accessibility in association with an efficient network of inland roads and railway networks is an important prerequisite. In addition, we verified a high statistical significance in the structural relationships among perceived usefulness, the attitude toward and the intention to choose the KCTF.
... In recent years, physical and mental health have become key motivators in attempts to encourage active modes of transport that combine exercise with mobility and consume less energy. Encouraging these choices at an individual level has been shown to require a combination of changes to both physical context (the built environment) and cultural context (shared beliefs and attitudes) (Lanzendorf and Busch-Geertsema 2015). Transport for London's recent adoption of a strategy for 'Healthy Streets' identifies qualitative goals for street design: they should feel 'relaxed', act as 'welcoming places for everyone to walk, spend time in and engage in community life', and encourage the choice of walking, cycling, and public transport (Transport for London 2017). ...
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... This conceptual framework of travel behaviour analyses responds to a criticism against the theory of planned behaviour, concerning misprision of situational factors (e.g. land use or infrastructure), in favour of personal factors (Busch-Geertsema and Lanzendorf, 2015). ...
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Einstellung ist ein Schlüsselbegriff der Sozialpsychologie. Im vorliegenden Kapitel wird der Einstellungsbegriff definiert und wir werden uns den Themen Einstellungsstruktur und -funktion widmen. Unter den Bestimmungsfaktoren von Einstellungen werden persuasive Botschaften und verhaltensbezogene Einflüsse besonders hervorgehoben. Am Ende wird genauer betrachtet, welche Konsequenzen es für die Informationsverarbeitung und das Verhalten von Menschen nach sich zieht, wenn sie bestimmte Einstellungen haben.
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