Social Networks and Travel Behavior: A Comparative Analysis

Using a comparative approach, this project explores how social networks influence travel behavior at three, large public universities that differ in environmental constraints such as climate, infrastructure and city/university-wide transportation culture. Focus groups and interviews of students and transportation policy decision-makers provide qualitative context for survey design and statistical analysis. Surveys of random samples of students provide measures of mode choice, as well as the "egonetworks" of contacts with whom each respondent communicates about transportation choices. Analysis includes measurement of network structures such as network density and centrality. Discrete choice models are estimated to predict travel mode as a function of individual characteristics as well as social networks attributes. Models from each university are compared to identify environmental factors which affect how social influences impact travel behavior. A key comparative hypothesis is that the influence of social networks is smaller in contexts with greater environmental constraints; high levels of environmental constraints make social networks less relevant. A greater understanding of the social processes that influence travel behavior can help improve policy and education programs designed to increase the use of alternative transportation modes and sustainable transportation behaviors.


    • English


    • Status: Active
    • Contract Numbers:


    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Research and Innovative Technology Administration

      Department of Transportation
      1200 New Jersey Avneue, SE
      Washington, DC  United States  20590
    • Performing Organizations:

      University of California, Davis

      Institute of Transportation Studies
      Davis, CA  United States  95616
    • Principal Investigators:

      Lubell, Mark

    • Start Date: 20121201
    • Expected Completion Date: 20140531
    • Actual Completion Date: 0
    • Source Data: RiP Project 33495

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01471038
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: University of California Transportation Center
    • Contract Numbers: 7868
    • Files: UTC, RiP
    • Created Date: Jan 31 2013 1:01AM