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  • Writer's pictureMashrur Rahman

Commute mode switch and its relationship to life events, built-environment, and attitude change

Mashrur Rahman

Major Highlights

  • Commute mode switch is examined using longitudinal data.

  • Major life events and start of a new job are important triggers of mode switch.

  • Impact of density is significant for non-car to car switch but not for the opposite.

  • Travel attitude influences mode switch and new behavior influences attitude.

  • Impacts of life events on attitude change are indirect and mediated by mode switch.

  • Interventions to reduce car use need to target appropriate demographics and timing.


Policies aimed at discouraging car commuting can be more effective when targeted at important determinants that inhibit or promote car use. However, evidence on what factors motivate commuters’ decision to start or stop car use is still limited. This study uses the Netherlands Mobility Panel data (MPN) data to examine how various factors, including life events, travel attitude, and the built-environment influence commuters to switch from non-car to car and car to non-car and whether commuters adjust their attitude following mode switch. Results show that beginning a new job and important life events such as childbirth or beginning to cohabitate are powerful triggers of mode switch. Various employer-provided car incentive programs strongly discourage car commuters from shifting to alternative modes. Travel attitude influences mode switch decision and attitude also changes following mode switch according to newly adopted travel behavior. Important policy implications informed by these findings are discussed.

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