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Travel Mode Choice and Social and Spatial Reference Groups Comparison of Two Formulations

UCD-ITS-RP-14-108

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Suggested Citation:
Pike, Susan (2014) Travel Mode Choice and Social and Spatial Reference Groups Comparison of Two Formulations. Transportation Research Record 2465, 1 - 78

This paper investigates social influence on mode choice by using two methods for defining reference groups: the ego networks of respondents' social contacts and respondents' spatial or geographic neighbors. The use of social network analysis builds on traditional models of travel behavior that rely on individualistic assumptions about decision making rather than the social context in which travel behavior takes place. First, mode choice is explored with traditional socioeconomic, attitudinal, and trip characteristic variables; in addition, to address social influence, egocentric social network factors consisting of the behaviors of social contacts are incorporated into models to investigate whether the choice of transportation mode made by "egos" (the individuals sampled) was influenced by the behaviors of "alters" (the egos' personal network of contacts). Second, with the use of spatially defined reference groups, neighborhood mode use variables are considered for their potential influence on mode choice. Models are compared, and findings show that, for some modes, the choices of ego network and spatial neighborhood have similar effects while, for other modes, the effects on mode choice are different. Findings suggest that ego network processes related to mode choice are dissimilar from those of spatial neighborhoods.
Available online at: DOI: 10.3141/2412-09