New approaches in transportation planning: happiness and transport economics

  • André Duarte
  • Camila Garcia
  • Grigoris Giannarakis
  • Susana Limão
  • Amalia Polydoropoulou
  • Nikolaos Litinas
Open Access


The measurement of social and psychological phenomena has been advanced by recent progress in the fields of behavioural economics and hedonic psychology. In addition, the increased interest in understanding how individuals perceive their own quality of life, has led to investigating the relations between various macro and individual level variables, generically subsumed as happiness. For many “happiness is considered to be an ultimate goal in life” and it plays an important role in the way people perceive the overall society they live in. Therefore, social scientists and behavioural economists are now stressing the importance of well-being measures, related to people’s evaluations of their quality of life in addition to economic indicators. In the transport sector, project evaluation is mainly based on cost–benefit analyses using economic indicators. However, any provided transportation project/service impacts the quality of the travel experience, the well-being of travellers and their travel behaviour. Competitiveness of modes may be also affected by the promotion of derived or experienced travellers’ well-being. Thus, existing behavioural travel choice models should be enhanced with regards to their behavioural validity incorporating the impacts of travelling happiness/ satisfaction. This study aims to understand and model the impact of stated (anticipated) happiness in the decision choice between a private transport mode—car, and a public transport mode—metro.


Happiness Well-being Discrete choice models Latent variables Transport surveys 


  1. 1.
    Abou-Zeid, M. (2008). Exploration of travel well-being in static and dynamic contexts. Presented at the fourth annual transportation student research symposium. Boston.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ben-Akiva, M., & Abou-Zeid, M. (2007). Happiness and the dynamic hybrid choice model. In Presented at the frontiers of transportation: Social interactions. Amsterdam, The Netherlands.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Ben-Akiva, M. (2007). Happiness and activity-based models, key note speech. In European transport conference.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Clark, A. E. (2006). A note on unhappiness and unemployment duration. PSE working papers 2006–23, PSE (Ecole normale supérieure), Paris.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Clark, A. E., & Oswald, A. J. (1994). Unhappiness and unemployment. The Economic Journal, 104(424), 648–659. doi: 10.2307/2234639.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Diener, E. (2000). Subjective well-being: The science of happiness and a proposal for a national index. The American Psychologist, 55(1), 34–43. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.55.1.34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Diener, E., Scollon, C. N., & Lucas, R. E. (2003). The evolving concept of subjective well-being: The multifaceted nature of happiness. Advances in Cell Aging and Gerontology, 15, 187–219. doi: 10.1016/S1566-3124(03)15007-9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Diener, E., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2004). Beyond money: Toward an economy of well-being. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 5(1), 1–31. doi: 10.1111/j.0963-7214.2004.00501001.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Easterlin, R. A. (1974). Does economic growth improve the human lot? Some empirical evidence. In P. A. David, & M. W. Reder (Eds.), Nations and households in economic growth: Essays in honor of Moses Abramowitz (pp. 89–125). New York: Academic.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Freedman, J. (1978). Happy people: What happiness is? Who has it? And why? New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Frey, B. S., & Stutzer, A. (2002). What can economists learn with happiness research. Journal of Economic Literature, 40(2), 402–435 (American Economic Association, June 2002).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Iaffaldano, M. T., & Muchinsky, P. M. (1985). Job satisfaction and job performance: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 97(2), 251–273. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.97.2.251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Kahn, B. E., & Isen, A. M. (1993). The influence of positive affect on variety seeking among safe enjoyable products. The Journal of Consumer Research, 20(2), 257–70. doi: 10.1086/209347.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Kashdan, T. B. (2004). The assessment of subjective well-being (issues raised by the Oxford happiness questionnaire). Personality and Individual Differences, 36, 1225–1232. doi: 10.1016/S0191-8869(03)00213-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Kahneman, D., Krueger, A. B., Schkade, D. A., Schwarz, N., & Stone, A. A. (2004). A survey method for characterizing daily life experience: The day reconstruction method (DRM). Science, 306, 1776–1780. doi: 10.1126/science.1103572.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Kahneman, D., & Krueger, A. B. (2006). Developments in the measurement of subjective well-being. The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 20(1), 3–24. doi: 10.1257/089533006776526030.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Knut, G., & Stephan, G. (1996). A paper on unhappiness and unemployment in Germany. Economics Letters, 52(3), 325–330. doi: 10.1016/S0165-1765(96)00858-0.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Layard, R. (2005). Happiness: Lessons from a new science. London, Great Britain: Allen Lane.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    McFadden, D. (2007). The behavioral science of transportation. Transport Policy, 14(4), 269–274. doi: 10.1016/j.tranpol.2007.07.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Ory, D. T., & Mokhtarian, P. L. (2005). When is getting there half of the fun? Modelling the liking for travel. Transportation Research. Part A, Policy and Practice 39(2–3), 97–123. Available at Accessed on 5th December 2007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Sandvik, E., Diener, E., & Seidlitz, L. (1993). Subjective well-being: The convergence and stability of self-report and non-self report measures. Journal of Personality, 61, 317–342. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.1993.tb00283.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Veenhoven, R. (2004). Happiness as an aim in public policy: The greatest happiness principle. In A. Linely & S. Joseph (Eds.), Positive psychology in practice. Hoboken, NJ, USA: Wiley. ISBN 0471459062. Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • André Duarte
    • 1
  • Camila Garcia
    • 2
  • Grigoris Giannarakis
    • 3
  • Susana Limão
    • 4
  • Amalia Polydoropoulou
    • 3
  • Nikolaos Litinas
    • 3
  1. 1.Delft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Instituto Superior Técnico–UTLLisbonPortugal
  3. 3.University of the AegeanChiosGreece
  4. 4.EPFL–ENAC–LITEPLausanneSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations