The role of intention as mediator between latent effects and behavior: application of a hybrid choice model to study departure time choices

  • Mikkel Thorhauge
  • Elisabetta Cherchi
  • Joan L. Walker
  • Jeppe Rich


An increasing number of papers are focusing on integrating psychological aspects into the typical discrete choice models. The majority of these studies account for several latent effects, but they mainly focused on the direct effect of attitudes, perception, and norms in the discrete choice. None of them consider the effect of intention and its role as mediator between those psychological effects and the choice, as implied in the Theory of Planned Behavior. In this paper we contribute to the literature in this field by specifically studying the direct effect of the intention on the actual behavior, while attitude, social norms, and perceived behavioral control affect the intention to behave in a given way. We apply a hybrid choice model to study the departure time choice. For this, we use data from Danish commuters in the morning rush hours in the Greater Copenhagen area. We find a significant effect of the intention to arrive at work on time on the departing time choice, and also a significant effect of the lower level mediators on intention. Furthermore, the attitude toward short travel time is also significant in explaining the departure time choice. Finally, in terms of forecasting, we find that individuals who have a strong intention to be at work on time will be less likely to reschedule their departure time. This suggests that campaigns targeting the working culture could affect the subject norms among colleagues, which in turn influence individuals’ intention to be on time or to reschedule to a less congested time slot.


Hybrid choice model Theory of Planned Behavior Intention Departure time choice Scheduling model 



The first author wishes to thank several transportation students at UC Berkeley for their help and useful discussions throughout the development of the HCM during his visit at UC Berkeley. A particular thank to Akshay Vij for his comments on the use of the latent constructs in prediction. In addition, we would like to thank Sonja Haustein for her help on designing the psychological components. Furthermore, early versions of this paper were presented at the 3rd Symposium of the European Association for Research in Transportation (hEART 2014 ) and the Transportation Research Board (TRB 2016) 95th annual meeting.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Management EngineeringTechnical University of DenmarkKgs. LyngbyDenmark
  2. 2.School of Civil Engineering and GeoscienceNewcastle UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK
  3. 3.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of California at BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA

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