How Important Are Attitudes in Travel Behavior Models? A Comprehensive Review

Attitudes, past experiences, habits, and norms have a large influence on the choices we make in our daily lives. Beginning in the 1970’s, researchers studying transportation choices began to include these psychological factors in their analyses (e.g., Tardiff, 1977). Nearly 50 years later, the relevant literature is vast. Results have been applied to more effectively market neighborhoods (e.g., WalkScore) and alternative modes (e.g., free bus pass for a limited time). Results have not been used, however, to improve the prediction of travel choices in formal metropolitan planning processes. The goal of the TOMNET University Transportation Center is to devise methodologies to facilitate either the direct incorporation of attitudinal data or the findings from the literature on the effect of attitudes on travel choices into the models that inform transport plans. Surprisingly, a comprehensive review of prior findings in this arena does not exist. An important step toward TOMNET’s goal, then, is to conduct a comprehensive review of the literature on the inclusion of attitudes in models of travel-related choices. The objective of this project is straightforward: the research team will produce a high-quality comprehensive review of the existing evidence on the impact of attitudes on travel-related choices. Attitudes will be broadly conceived to encompass attitudes, preferences, intentions, norms, and personality traits. All of these variables are usually captured using Likert-scale survey statements with agree-disagree or unimportant-important measurement scales, and then combined into attitudinal factors such as “safety”, “convenience”, or “environmental”. This review will be submitted for publication in a top transportation journal (possibly Transport Reviews), and will serve as an invaluable reference for all research on the topic of attitudes and travel behavior going forward. In addition to this review paper, the team will also create a public database of studies that have been conducted on the impact of attitudes on travel behavior. This database will contain links to the original research, as well as a directory of the attitudinal questions that were asked by the studies, and the results of the models in each paper. It will be available as an interactive web site with search functionality, as well as a machine-readable, downloadable database file to allow the team or others to conduct meta-analyses of the results of these studies. The interactive web site will greatly assist researchers developing new studies of attitudes and travel behavior, as they will be able to easily identify questions that were predictive in past studies. Draft versions of this database have already been used in the development of two transport-related surveys.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $114,777
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Center for Teaching Old Models New Tricks (TOMNET)

    Arizona State University
    Tempe, AZ  United States  85287
  • Performing Organizations:

    Center for Teaching Old Models New Tricks (TOMNET)

    Arizona State University
    Tempe, AZ  United States  85287
  • Principal Investigators:

    Salon, Deborah

  • Start Date: 20181001
  • Expected Completion Date: 20201001
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01754977
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Center for Teaching Old Models New Tricks (TOMNET)
  • Contract Numbers: 69A3551747116
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: Oct 20 2020 6:18PM