Changing Attitudes Toward Sustainable Transportation: The Impact of Meta-Arguments

The proposed research investigates the efficacy of communications that prompt people to rethink their attitudes about sustainable transportation. It is believef that an important contributor to attitudes about public transit, driving, walking, and bicycling are meta-cognitions about the functional value of holding particular attitudinal positions. Prior research has examined the impact of public service messages aimed at convincing potential riders about the merits of public transportation and the costs of driving. The planned study examines the persuasiveness of meta-arguments about the benefits of adopting more favorable attitudes toward public transportation options. Participants will read a message conveying conventional arguments for using public transportation (e.g., “Using public transportation significantly reduces the air pollution from driving a car”) or meta-arguments for adopting more favorable attitudes (e.g., “Surveys indicate that corporate America is increasingly hiring employees with a strong orientation toward environmentally sustainable practices such as public transportation”, “People who favor public transportation are perceived to be progressive and community oriented”), or a control communication about recycling. Both conventional arguments and meta-arguments are expected to lead to more positive attitudes toward public transportation. Meta-arguments about the functional value of more positive attitudes toward sustainable options may be particularly effective with persons who are indifferent about environmental issues or concerned about their social image. Theoretically, the study will show that this distinct category of arguments can be effective in persuasion. More importantly, the study will arm educators and policy makers with a new set of arguments or tools for changing attitudes about sustainable transportation.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $154616
  • Contract Numbers:

    NITC 801

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    National Institute for Transportation and Communities

    Portland State University
    P.O. Box 751
    Portland, OR  United States  97207
  • Project Managers:

    Hagedorn, Hau

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Utah, Salt Lake City

    Metropolitan Research Center
    375 South 1530 East Room 235
    Salt Lake City, UT  United States  84112

    AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

    607 14th Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  2005
  • Principal Investigators:

    Moore, Shannon

    Sanbonmatsu, David

    Strayer, David

  • Start Date: 20140701
  • Expected Completion Date: 20160630
  • Actual Completion Date: 20170801

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01578144
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: National Institute for Transportation and Communities
  • Contract Numbers: NITC 801
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: Oct 14 2015 11:11AM