Publication Detail

What Moves Us? An Interdisciplinary Exploration of Reasons for Traveling

UCD-ITS-RP-15-52

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Suggested Citation:
Mokhtarian, Patricia L., Ilan Salomon, Matan E. Singer (2015) What Moves Us? An Interdisciplinary Exploration of Reasons for Traveling. Transport Reviews: A Transnational Transdisciplinary Journal 35 (3), 250 - 274

We review a number of theories of motivation, and typologies of motivations, in psychological theory and in application to a variety of specific contexts, including shopping, eating, leisure, tourism, and travel. A recurring theme is the distinction between extrinsic (instrumental, utilitarian, functional) and intrinsic (autotelic, hedonic, experiential) motivations. We suggest that travel is a behavior to which intrinsic motivations apply, and that focusing exclusively on the extrinsic motivations to travel runs the risk of substantially underestimating the demand for travel, and the resistance to policies attempting to reduce it or to technologies (notably, information and communication technologies) expected to (partly) replace it. We offer a number of suggestions for improving standard travel surveys to help obtain the data needed to explore intrinsic motivations more fully. As better data become available, travel behavior models can be refined to partly account for such motivations. We believe that the resulting insights will be extremely valuable to policy-makers, planners, and behavioral scholars.