Attitudinal and Emotional Travel

Transportation research has traditionally explained an individual’s travel behavior as a conscious, utility-maximizing choice derived from the functional characteristics of different travel options and the access to opportunities that they provide.

At JTL, we integrate insights from social psychology into the study of travel behavior. In doing so, we are able to consider how attitudes and emotions might also motivate travel behavior. For example, we measure how an individual’s environmental consciousness relates to their mode choice. We have analyzed how “car pride”—the attribution of social status and personal image to using cars—relates to transportation mode choice. We have examined how feelings of anxiety felt by riders waiting for buses, and feelings of nervousness or excitement when riding autonomous vehicles, are shaped by information provision and environmental contexts. And we have compared these psychological motivations for travel behavior across people and places, understanding the role of context in shaping attitudes and their relationship to behavior.

At JTL, we contend that attitudinal and emotional motivations have substantive impact on how we understand travel. These same motivations could play an important role in impacting how we change behavior through creative technological approaches and new policy instruments.

Car Pride and its Bidirectional Relations with Car Ownership: Case Studies in New York City and Houston, Joanna Moody, and Jinhua Zhao , Transportation Research Part A, 06/2019, Volume 124, p.334-353, (2019)

The car fulfills not only instrumental transportation functions, but also holds important symbolic and affective meaning for its owners and users. In particular, owning and using a car can be a symbol of an individual’s social status or personal image (‘car pride’). This paper introduces and validates a standard measure of car pride estimated from 12 survey statements using a cross-sectional sample of 1,236 commuters in New York City and Houston metropolitan statistical areas. We find that...

Discriminatory Attitudes between Ridesharing Passengers, Scott Middleton, and Jinhua Zhao , Transportation, (2019)

Prior studies have provided evidence of discrimination between drivers and passengers in the context of ridehailing. This paper extends prior research by investigating passenger-to-passenger discriminatory attitudes in the context of ridesharing. We conducted a survey of 1,110 TNC users in the US using Mechanical Turk, 76.5% of which have used UberPool or LyftLine, and estimated two structural equation models. The first model examines the influence of one’s demographic, social and economic...

Rider-To-Rider Discriminatory Attitudes and Ridesharing Behavior, Joanna Moody, Scott Middleton, and Jinhua Zhao , Transportation Research Part F, (2019)

Using online survey data from N = 2,041 Uber and Lyft users in the United States collected in 2016 and 2018, this paper establishes the validity, reliability, and invariance of a measure of rider-to-rider race and social class discrimination. This measure is then incorporated into three structural models that investigate associations between rider-to-rider discriminatory attitudes and four aspects of ridesharing behavior. We find that rider-to-rider discriminatory attitudes do not...

Transportation Policymaking in Beijing and Shanghai: Contributors, Obstacles, and Process, Jungwoo Chun, Joanna Moody, and Jinhua Zhao , Case Studies on Transport Policy, (2019)

With continued motorization and urbanization in Chinese cities, there is a growing demand for innovative transportation policies at the city level to address the challenges of congestion, local air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions. Using Beijing and Shanghai as case studies, this paper draws on 32 in-depth semi-structured interviews with municipal government officials, academics, and transportation professionals to explore the city-level transportation policymaking process in Chinese...

Car Pride and its Behavioral Implications: An Exploration in Shanghai, Zhan Zhao, and Jinhua Zhao , Transportation, (2018)

Cars have symbolic significance beyond their functional purpose, and people often take pride in owning and using them. However, little is known about what this pride is and how it affects travel behavior. This paper constitutes the first attempt to provide a conceptual framework of car pride and test its behavioral implications. In this paper, car pride is defined as the self-conscious emotion derived from the appraisal of car ownership and use positively related to one’s identity goals. We...

Capturing Hidden Attitudes: Introducing the Implicit Association Test to Transportation Planning, Joanna Moody, Jintai Li, and Jinhua Zhao , Working paper, (2017)

Transportation planners routinely rely on surveys or other self-report measures (revealed preference or stated preference) to understand people’s travel preference and attitudes. This understanding is fundamental in designing policy interventions toward more sustainable travel choice. However, respondents may hold implicit attitudes that differ from their expressed answers to surveys because of social desirability bias, self-enhancement, or self-ignorance. This mismatch between attitudes...

A Ride to Remember: Experienced vs. Remembered Emotion on Public Transit, Nate Bailey, Timothy Patton Doyle, Tolulope Ogunbekun, and Jinhua Zhao , 95th Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting, 08/2015, Washington, D.C., (2016)

Prior research has shown disconnects between the subjective well-being a person experiences during an event and the subjective well-being the same individual remembers once the event has passed. Despite the differences that exist between experience and memory, memory is often used as a basis for making decisions about the future. Measures of utility in transportation decision models have begun to incorporate concepts of subjective well-being. A better understanding of the differences between...

Implicit and Explicit Measures of Social Status Bias in Mode Choice, Joanna Moody , (2016)

Transportation planners routinely rely on surveys or other self-report measures to understand people’s mode choice attitudes. This understanding helps shape informational campaigns and other policy interventions to nudge travel behaviour toward more sustainable modes and away from single-occupancy, gasoline-powered vehicles. However, respondents may hold implicit attitudes that differ from their expressed answers to surveys because of social desirability bias, self-enhancement, or self-...

‘Car Pride’ in New York City vs. Houston: Towards a Cross-Cultural Comparison, Joanna Moody, Jintai Li, and Jinhua Zhao , (2016)

Presented at the 56th Annual Conference of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP), Portland, OR, 2016

Transportation planners routinely rely on surveys or other self-report measures to understand people’s mode choice attitudes. This understanding helps shape informational campaigns and other policy interventions to nudge travel behavior toward more sustainable modes and away from single-occupancy, gasoline-powered vehicles. However, respondents may hold implicit...

My brain at the bus stop: an exploratory framework for applying EEG-based emotion detection techniques in transportation study, Zelin Li, Fabio Duarte, Zhan Zhao, and Jinhua Zhao , Working paper, (2015)

Emotion has important implications on travel decisions and behaviors. Emotions related to transportation have usually been assessed using opinion-based and other qualitative methods. The advances in electroencephalographic (EEG) algorithms and hardware now provide new possibilities for assessing emotions in real time and using quantitative data. This paper describes the features of the EEG-based emotion detection technique, presents a framework for the experiment design process, and...

Customer Loyalty Differences Between Captive and Choice Transit Riders, Jinhua Zhao, Valerie Webb, and Punit Shah , Journal of the Transportation Research Board, Volume 2415, p.80–88, (2014)

Traditionally, efforts to increase the customer base of public transportation agencies have focused primarily on attracting first-time users. Customer retention, however, has many benefits not often realized. Loyal customers provide recommendations to others, increase and diversify their use of the service, and do not require acquisition costs associated with new customers. An earlier study identified key drivers of customer loyalty, with the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) in Illinois as a...

A Subjective Measure of Car Dependence, Jinhua Zhao , Journal of the Transportation Research Board, Volume 2231, p.44–52, (2011)

A subjective measure of car dependence was developed on the basis of people's own assessment of their reliance on car use. The measure supplements the commonly used objective measure on the basis of actual car use. Structural equation models (SEMs) were estimated to quantify the subjective dependence and to examine its determinants: demographics, socioeconomics, and land use and transit access. The comparison between subjective dependence and actual car use disclosed significant differences...

Team Members

Chaewon Ahn's picture
PhD Student
Jintai Li's picture
PhD Student
Zelin Li's picture
MST/MCP Student
Joanna Moody's picture
Ph.D. 2019
Zhan Zhao's picture
PhD Candidate
Jinhua Zhao's picture
Edward H. and Joyce Linde Associate Professor