Publication Detail

Behavioral Response to Congestion: Identifying Patterns and Socio-Economic Differences in Adoption

UCD-ITS-RP-97-22

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Suggested Citation:
Mokhtarian, Patricia L., Elizabeth A. Raney, Ilan Salomon (1997) Behavioral Response to Congestion: Identifying Patterns and Socio-Economic Differences in Adoption. Transport Policy 4 (3), 147 - 160

An understanding of how individuals perceive congestion and the range of coping strategies they adopt is crucial for the development of relevant, effective policies. This study empirically tested two hypotheses:
  • (1) that responses to unsatisfactory conditions, such as a congested commute, are a function of previously adopted adjustments; and
  • (2) that responses to congestion are distributed differently across various socio-economic segments.
Coping strategies were classified into tiers according to their similarity in implementation cost and effort: lower-effort strategies which increase the comfort in maintaining existing travel patterns; moderate-effort strategies which tend to reduce travel; and major lifestyle/location change strategies such as job or residence changes. Findings confirm that lower-effort strategies tend to be adopted first, with higher-effort strategies adopted if dissatisfaction persists. The adoption of most types of strategies, especially the more costly ones, appears to fall disproportionately to women. Additionally differences were identified by family status, income level, employment status, and household type. These results illustrate the need for further study into patterns of behavioral response to congestion, with the goals of improving forecasts of the effects of congestion mitigation policies and identifying distributional inequities in those effects.