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Attitudinal and situational variables influencing urban mode choice: Some empirical findings


A mode choice decision structure incorporating traveler attitudes toward modes and situational constraints is investigated. The major hypothesis tested is that mode choice is determined primarily by situational constraints, such as auto ownership and income, secondly by the quality of alternative modes.

The structure of the mode choice process is analyzed with respect to (1) applicability of certain choice criterion forms; (2) psychological weighting of modal attributes in the choice criterion; (3) strength of logit, probit, and discriminant functional forms; (4) the relative strength of socio-economic and attitudinal variables in predicting mode choice. An evaluation is made of 50 binary choice models fitted to a sample of 471 randomly drawn urban travelers. Results indicate that (1) the four choice criterion forms tested are all about equal in predictive strength; (2) psychological weighting has no effect on model strength, but does influence which modal attributes appear to determine choice; (3) the three functional forms tested are all about equal in strength; (4) situational factors account for 80–90% of variation explained by the models, attitudes toward modes 10–20%, thus confirming the primary hypothesis. Implications of these results for mode choice modeling and transit planning are discussed.

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This paper summarizes current research at the New York State Department of Transportation on the motivations and causes of travel behavior. Complete findings are available in Hartgen (1973).

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Hartgen, D.T. Attitudinal and situational variables influencing urban mode choice: Some empirical findings. Transportation 3, 377–392 (1974).

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  • Mode Choice
  • Modal Attribute
  • Binary Choice
  • Choice Decision
  • Model Strength