Implicit and Explicit Measures of Social Status Bias in Mode Choice

TitleImplicit and Explicit Measures of Social Status Bias in Mode Choice
Publication TypePresentation
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsJoanna Moody
Keywordsbus, Car, Explicit, Implicit, Implicit Association Test (IAT), Pride, Social status bias, Survey

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.