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
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: Suggested Citation