Psychological Economics, Travel Behavior, Residential Location Choice, and Sustainability: Possible New Rationales for Policy Intervention

Reducing carbon emissions and other problems of auto use is thought to require incentivizing or requiring developers to build more densely, and reforming existing regulations that contribute to low-density development and an oversupply of parking. But it is possible that problems leading to too much sprawl and too much auto use are not limited to external costs like congestion, pollution, and accident risks, or problems with government regulation. It could also be that imperfect decision making plays an important role - a common theme in psychological economics. In trading up for housing size and school quality in suburban locations, households may receive sparse social networks, more commute-related stress, and reduced time with their families. Such decisions may not be optimal for some households and if so this would reduce consumer demand for dense locations. This research will explore the importance of imperfect decision making when choosing where to live and how to travel, and discuss possible policy responses for consumer demand for sustainable living. Using laboratory survey experiments and a mail survey of more representative population we investigate two decision making phenomena: (a) systematic over-prediction of future housing and commute satisfaction, and (b) failure to consider less salient criteria such as social networks and time scarcity.


    • English


    • Status: Active
    • Contract Numbers:


    • Sponsor Organizations:

      California Department of Transportation

      1227 O Street
      Sacramento, CA  USA  95843

      Department of Transportation

      Research and Special Programs Administration
      1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
      Washington, DC    20590
    • Performing Organizations:

      University of California Transportation Center (UCTC)

      University of California, Berkeley
      2614 Dwight Way, 2nd Floor
      Berkeley, CA  USA  94720-1782
    • Principal Investigators:

      Chatman, Daniel

    • Start Date: 20100801
    • Source Data: RiP Project 28014

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01463708
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: University of California Transportation Center (UCTC)
    • Contract Numbers: 15833JECH2
    • Files: UTC, RiP, USDOT, STATEDOT
    • Created Date: Jan 3 2013 2:28PM