Breaking Car Use Habits: The Effectiveness of a Free One-Month Travelcard

Transportation, Vol. 35, No. 3, pp. 329-345, 2008

Posted: 23 Apr 2008

See all articles by John Thoegersen

John Thoegersen

Aarhus University - Department of Marketing and Statistics

Berit Møller

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Abstract

Based on calls for innovative ways of reducing car traffic and research indicating that car driving is often the result of habitual decision-making and choice processes, this paper reports on a field experiment designed to test a tool aimed to entice drivers to skip the habitual choice of the car and consider using - or at least trying - public transport instead. About 1,000 car drivers participated in the experiment either as experimental subjects, receiving a free one-month travelcard, or as control subjects. As predicted, the intervention had a significant impact on drivers' use of public transport and it also neutralized the impact of car driving habits on mode choice. However, in the longer run (i.e., four months after the experiment) experimental subjects did not use public transport more than control subjects. Hence, it seems that although many car drivers choose travel mode habitually, their final choice is consistent with their informed preferences, given the current price-quality relationships of the various options.

Keywords: Car use habits, Public transport, Economic incentive, Field experiment

Suggested Citation

Thoegersen, John and Møller, Berit, Breaking Car Use Habits: The Effectiveness of a Free One-Month Travelcard. Transportation, Vol. 35, No. 3, pp. 329-345, 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1124483

Business and Social Sciences, Aarhus University Department of Business Administration (Contact Author)

Aarhus School of Business - Department of Marketing and Statistics ( email )

Haslegaardsvej 10
Aarhus, DK-8210
Denmark

John Thoegersen

Aarhus University - Department of Marketing and Statistics ( email )

Haslegårdsvej 10
Århus V
Denmark

Berit Møller

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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