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Habit discontinuity and travel choices

Haggar, Paul 2016. Habit discontinuity and travel choices. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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If travel choices are made habitually in specific contexts, rather than deliberately, then, when these contexts change (e.g. with moving house), do travellers deliberate over travel choices and, perhaps, make changes? This thesis investigates this idea (the Habit Discontinuity Hypothesis: Verplanken, Walker, Davis, & Jurasek, 2008). Key literature was reviewed and some important research questions identified. To obtain rich, descriptive information about these experiences, a purposive sample (N = 29) of commuters were interviewed. Thematic analysis of these accounts identified two principal themes: choice factors (reasons for travel choices) and experience of travel. Neither habitual travel-choices nor habit discontinuities were described. Instead, participants identified familiar journeys (on frequently-travelled routes) as habitual and life- events as leading to travel-choice change only when impacting travel goals. Two studies investigated university-student travel-mode choice before and after they moved from one term-time accommodation to another. In each study, a group whose accommodation changed was compared to another group whose accommodation didn't change. Both studies showed a small association between moving accommodation and changing travel behaviour (to or from walking to the university). This association was statistically mediated by (a) prior planning and (b) living with new housemates. Automaticity also changed amongst movers as anticipated. However, evidence with respect to the role of values, ease/difficulty of change and self-regulation failure/ competing priorities with change was inconclusive. There was also no clear evidence that changes in walking distance with residential relocation accounted for change in walking behaviour with residential relocation. These findings are discussed with respect to the habit discontinuity hypothesis, as well as other interpretations.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Publication
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Funders: ESRC, Shell, School of Psychology
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 8 December 2016
Date of Acceptance: 7 December 2016
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 09:33

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