Understanding Car Pride

TitleUnderstanding Car Pride
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsZhan Zhao
Academic DepartmentDept. of Civil Engineering
DegreeMaster of Applied Science
UniversityUniversity of British Columbia
Thesis TypeMASc

More than a tool that provides mobility, the car is also a commodity with symbolic values related to the sense of self-regard. To various degrees, people pride themselves on being car owners or users. Based on a literature review primarily of a plethora of psychological theories, this thesis proposes a framework that defines the concept of car pride, examines the process of its formation, and classifies different types of car pride. Car pride is measured using data collected from a survey in Shanghai. Although household income and location are found to be significant predictors, car pride cannot be effectively explained by individual socio-economic characteristics. Car pride and ownership are found to be interdependent. The 2SLS model finds a significant impact of ownership on pride. Conversely, car pride can influence whether someone plans to buy a car, more so for first-time car buyers. In terms of the relationship between car pride and car use, the influence of car use on pride is weak, but car pride significantly stimulates car use. The relationship between car pride and other attitudinal factors is also investigated. A positive correlation between pride and dependence indicates people with high car pride are usually more dependent on cars. Public acceptance of car ownership restriction policies can also be subject to the influence of car pride. People with high car pride, though having strong desire for cars, tend to support policies that restrict car ownership, possibly because such policies make car ownership more exclusive and special. Car pride in Shanghai is compared with Beijing to reveal regional similarities and differences of car pride. It is found although overall car pride is similar in the two cities, car pride in Beijing has much more variation. Overall, this thesis provides a systematic understanding on its psychological structure, and its role in shaping people’s behavior (in terms of car ownership and use) and attitudes (in terms of car dependence and acceptance of car ownership restriction policies). It is suggested car pride can have important implications in addressing transportation issues such as traffic congestion and rapid motorization.


Supervised by Jinhua Zhao