Available online at: https://trid.trb.org/view/1572640
Janke, Julia, Calvin Thigpen, Susan L. Handy (2019) Examining the Effect of Life Course Events on Modality Type and the Moderating Influence of Life Stage. Transportation Research Board 98th Annual Meeting
Previous research has demonstrated the relevance of life events to explain changes in travel behavior. Less clear is the moderating role played by life stages on the impact of life events on travel behavior. The goal of this study is to explore, first, the influence of life events on travel behavior change and, second, how the influence of life events on travel behavior differs by life stage. The authors use data from a travel survey of faculty, staff and students at a US university. The authors define four life stages: millennials living in shared apartments or alone, millennials living with partners, parents living with their children, and older adults living without children. The authors use a Markov Latent Class Model to estimate modality types and probabilities of switching types between two waves of the survey. Four modality types emerged: multimodal travel; active travel; carpool – bicycling; and telecommute. Life stage does not significantly moderate effects of life events on change in travel behavior but does affect class membership: millennials are more mobile and multimodal. An increase in commute distance is associated with a switch towards less commuting and multimodality though a decrease in commute distance produces no significant change. The results identify “windows of opportunity”, such as residential relocation, that planners can make use of to promote sustainable travel behavior. The asymmetrical influence of changed commute distance suggests that it is easier to adopt less active travel modes and harder to retain active patterns of travel in response to a life event.
Key words: Life styles, Markov processes, mode choice, travel behavior