Measuring Explicit and Implicit Social Status Bias in Car vs. Bus Mode Choice

TitleMeasuring Explicit and Implicit Social Status Bias in Car vs. Bus Mode Choice
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsJoanna Moody, Gabriel Goulet Langlois, Lauren Alexander, Jonathan Campbell, Jinhua Zhao
Conference Name95th Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting
Date Published08/2015
PublisherTransportation Research Board
Conference LocationWashington, D.C.
Keywordsbus, Car, Implicit Association Test, Mode choice, Pride, Social status bias, Survey

With results from an Implicit Association Test (IAT) and sociodemographic, travel behavior, and Likert-scale survey questions, we investigate implicit and explicit social status biases in the context of mode choice between car and bus. 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. We find that explicit agreement with positive and negative statements about social status may fail to capture subconscious biases that play a role in individual travel behavior (i.e. mode choice). We corroborate previous research into the idea of pride as a factor in explaining car mode choice 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. With this as our case study, we introduce the IAT as a method in transportation literature and propose further application of the IAT in transportation research to better understand the subconscious biases that influence travel behavior and policy preference.