Global Mobility Culture Comparison and China’s Mobility Management

Funding: MIT Energy Initiative, Mobility of the Future 2016-2019

Mobility is already changing in response to evolving demographics, consumer preferences, new business models, connectedness, technology, alternative fuels, and policy. Future changes are anticipated but there is great uncertainty about the pace of change and which mobility options will be adopted. This multi-PI multi-year MIT study, Mobility of the Future, will explore these possibilities and examine how complex interactions between engine technology options, fuel options, refueling infrastructure, consumer choice, public transit options, new transportation modalities, and government policy might shape the future landscape for mobility. 

Prof. Zhao leads two research components: (1) Global Comparison of Mobility Culture, and (2) Mobility Management Instruments in China: Scenario Setting 2050.

(1) The Global Comparison of Mobility Culture project seeks to measure car pride and car dependence in cities across different countries, explore the sociodemographic, policy, and other influences that contribute to the formation of car pride, and model how car pride and car dependence influence travel behavior (such as car usage and ownership). Implementing a pre-tested survey in select cities across the globe, we will collect primary data on respondent’s travel behavior and attitudes towards mobility using psychometric tools including the Implicit Association Test.

(2) The Mobility Management Instruments in China project surveys the landscape of municipal transportation policies and constructs future policy scenarios for China. We begin by characterizing current municipal transportation policies along four dimensions: policy instruments, policy objectives, stakeholders, and local contexts. We examine the variations common patterns in the process of transportation policy-making across Chinese cities. We aim to identify trends in urban transportation systems, mobility patterns, and transportation policy-making over time and use this understanding of the dynamics of transportation policy to develop a set of scenarios. These scenarios will explore three key dimensions – (i) technology development, (ii) mobility policy assertiveness, (iii) and urban land use regulations – to illustrate and benchmark a broad range of plausible mobility futures.

External link: https://stl.mit.edu/project/urban-scale-social-responsibility-china-behavioral-perspective-real-estate-and

 

 

Abstract
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 measured through surveys and the actual preferences underlying behavior could have wide-ranging impacts on the shape and efficacy of policy interventions meant to influence people’s behavior.
We introduce the Implicit Association Test (IAT) – a series of computer-based matching exercises that record response time and capture subconscious associations – and evaluated it with specific reference to attitudinal and behavioral understanding for transportation planning. We motivate the use of IAT as a complement to traditional self-report methods, explain the IAT’s underlying modus operandi, and discuss its merits and limitations. We present a case study that explores the influence of social status bias on commuter’s mode choice between car and bus. We find that, in this case, the implicit attitude captured by the IAT better predicts user’s primary commute mode than the explicit measure captured by Likert scale questions. 
We demonstrate how the IAT can be applied to better understand the sustainability implications of social status bias on peoples travel behavior and we also discuss how the IAT could help planners capture perceptions of equity in transportation services and policies among different population segments. We conclude that the IAT is a viable and valuable tool that can offer unique diagnostic and predictive advantages to planners and policymakers and that further research is warranted to fully exploit IAT’s potential.

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-ignorance. This mismatch between attitudes measured through surveys and the actual preferences underlying behaviour could have wideranging impacts on the shape and efficacy of the policy interventions meant to shape people’s behaviour. In this paper we explore the difference between implicit and explicit measures of social status biases in the mode choice between car and bus and how this bias may affect travel behaviour. By social status bias we refer to people’s association of a mode of transportation with differing levels of success, wealth, or image that is often subconsciously influenced by the cultural context surrounding the travel decision. Implicit measures are collected through an Implicit Association Test (IAT) while explicit measures are collected using traditional Likert-format survey questions. Throughout this discussion, we present preliminary results from primary data collection in New York City, United States.

‘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 attitudes that differ from their expressed answers to surveys because of social desirability bias, self-enhancement, or self-ignorance (Greenwald & Banaji, 1995; Nosek, Greenwald, & Banaji, 2007). This mismatch between attitudes measured through surveys and the actual preferences underlying behavior could have wide-ranging impacts on the shape and efficacy of the policy interventions meant to shape people’s behavior.

With results from an Implicit Association Test (IAT) and a survey exploring sociodemographic characteristics and travel behavior, we generate implicit and explicit measures of social status biases in the mode choice between car and bus. By social status bias we refer to people’s association of a mode with differing levels of success, wealth, or image that is often subconsciously influenced by the cultural context surrounding the travel decision. Using a novel two-part experimental design, the differences between implicit and explicit measures of bias are examined to understand how the IAT may complement or improve upon traditional survey methods to capture attitudinal biases and explain mode choice behavior. We corroborate previous research on the idea of pride as a factor in explaining car mode choice (Steg, 2004) as well as propose a new way to quantify these inherent or implicit social status biases that are controversial or difficult to consciously identify and articulate.

We explore the sociodemographic and cultural variables that help explain variation in the magnitude and direction of ‘car pride’ in  New York City vs. Houston. We'll map levels of car pride throughout the five boroughs in NYC and discuss the policy implications of these variations at the municipal level. We lay the foundation for future work comparing motivation and formation of car pride across cultures (Shi et. al., 2015) and its impact on car ownership and usage. 

People

Chaewon Ahn's picture
PhD Student
Jungwoo Chun's picture
PhD Student
Jintai Li's picture
MCP Student
Joanna Moody's picture
MST Student
Xuenan Ni's picture
MCP/MST student
Shenhao Wang's picture
PhD Student
Jinhua Zhao's picture
Edward H. and Joyce Linde Assistant Professor