Emotional Travel

Transportation is often seen as a mundane daily chore. However at JTL we appreciate travel as charged with emotional and attitudinal associations, such as car pride, car dependence, environmental consciousness, implicit social bias in mode choice, anxiety while waiting for a bus, and nervousness or excitement when riding an autonomous vehicle. We contend that such cognizance has substantive impact on how we understand travel with behavioral realism, and how we change behavior with more creative technology and policy instruments. We bring social psychology to bear on travel behavior, examining the emotional and attitudinal motivations underlining travel decisions, comparing mobility cultures across different countries, and embedding them in the transportation system and policy design.

A Subjective Measure of Car Dependence, Zhao, Jinhua , 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... Read more

Seniors' Perceptions Around Driving Cessation: A Multi-Ethnic, Multi-Cultural Perspective, Curro, Maria , School of Community and Regional Planning, 2012, Volume MA, Vancouver, (2012)

For the great majority of Canadian seniors the private automobile is the primary form of mobility, providing seniors accessibility, freedom and independence. The aging process often leads to a decline and/or compromises the ability to safely drive, resulting in the cessation of driving and/or need to cease driving. Given the importance of the private automobile and the negative consequences associated with driving cessation, a vast literature base exists examining seniors’ perceptions around... Read more

A Ride to Remember: Experienced vs. Remembered Emotion on Public Transit, Bailey, Nathaniel, Doyle Timothy Patton, Ogunbekun Tolulope, and Zhao Jinhua , 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... Read more

Understanding Car Pride, Zhao, Zhan , Dept. of Civil Engineering, Volume Master of Applied Science, Vancouver, (2013)

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... Read more

Preference Accommodating and Preference Shaping: Incorporating Traveler Preferences into Transportation Planning, Zhao, Jinhua , Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Volume PhD, Cambridge, MA, (2009)

This dissertation examines the psychological factors that influence travel behavior such as people's personality traits, environmental attitudes, car pride and perceptions of convenience and comfort. Despite the recognition of the importance of these psychological factors in better understanding travel behavior, transportation agencies have failed to integrate them into planning practice and policy debate in the quantitative way. This dissertation reflects on this failure, identifies the... Read more

Customer Loyalty in the Public Transportation Context, Webb, Valerie , Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Volume MST, Cambridge, MA, (2010)

Public transportation agencies, much like other service industries, have a constant churn of their customer base. New customers are entering and current customers are defecting every day. Traditionally, efforts to increase this customer base have focused on attracting more first-time users. However, preventing the loss of customers to competitive modes, such as the auto, has many added benefits that are not often realized. Loyal customers provide recommendations to others, increase and... Read more

Understanding Car Pride and Its Behavioral Implications, Zhao, Zhan, and Zhao Jinhua , Transportation, Washington, D.C., (Submitted)

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... Read more

Customer Loyalty Differences Between Captive and Choice Transit Riders, Zhao, Jinhua, Webb Valerie, and Shah Punit , 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... Read more

Capturing Hidden Attitudes: Introducing the Implicit Association Test to Transportation Planning, Moody, Joanna, Li jintai, and Zhao Jinhua , 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... Read more

My brain at the bus stop: an exploratory framework for applying EEG-based emotion detection techniques in transportation study, Li, Zelin, Duarte Fabio, Zhao Zhan, and Zhao Jinhua , 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... Read more

Implicit and Explicit Measures of Social Status Bias in Mode Choice, Moody, Joanna , (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-... Read more

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

Understanding Car Pride, Zhao, Zhan , Dept. of Civil Engineering, Volume Master of Applied Science, Vancouver, (2013)

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...

Customer Loyalty in the Public Transportation Context, Webb, Valerie , Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Volume MST, Cambridge, MA, (2010)

Public transportation agencies, much like other service industries, have a constant churn of their customer base. New customers are entering and current customers are defecting every day. Traditionally, efforts to increase this customer base have focused on attracting more first-time users. However, preventing the loss of customers to competitive modes, such as the auto, has many added benefits that are not often realized. Loyal customers provide recommendations to others, increase and...

Seniors' Perceptions Around Driving Cessation: A Multi-Ethnic, Multi-Cultural Perspective, Curro, Maria , School of Community and Regional Planning, 2012, Volume MA, Vancouver, (2012)

For the great majority of Canadian seniors the private automobile is the primary form of mobility, providing seniors accessibility, freedom and independence. The aging process often leads to a decline and/or compromises the ability to safely drive, resulting in the cessation of driving and/or need to cease driving. Given the importance of the private automobile and the negative consequences associated with driving cessation, a vast literature base exists examining seniors’ perceptions around...

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

Implicit and Explicit Measures of Social Status Bias in Mode Choice, Moody, Joanna , (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, Moody, Joanna, Li jintai, and Zhao Jinhua , (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...

Understanding Car Pride and Its Behavioral Implications, Zhao, Zhan, and Zhao Jinhua , Transportation, Washington, D.C., (Submitted)

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, Moody, Joanna, Li jintai, and Zhao Jinhua , 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 Subjective Measure of Car Dependence, Zhao, Jinhua , 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...

Customer Loyalty Differences Between Captive and Choice Transit Riders, Zhao, Jinhua, Webb Valerie, and Shah Punit , 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 Ride to Remember: Experienced vs. Remembered Emotion on Public Transit, Bailey, Nathaniel, Doyle Timothy Patton, Ogunbekun Tolulope, and Zhao Jinhua , 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...

Preference Accommodating and Preference Shaping: Incorporating Traveler Preferences into Transportation Planning, Zhao, Jinhua , Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Volume PhD, Cambridge, MA, (2009)

This dissertation examines the psychological factors that influence travel behavior such as people's personality traits, environmental attitudes, car pride and perceptions of convenience and comfort. Despite the recognition of the importance of these psychological factors in better understanding travel behavior, transportation agencies have failed to integrate them into planning practice and policy debate in the quantitative way. This dissertation reflects on this failure, identifies the...

Team Members

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