Travel behaviour change

Opportunities arising from residential relocation.

Project details

Full project title: Travel behaviour change - opportunities arising from residential relocation

Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council and Department for Transport

Research student: Karen Stanbridge

Supervisory team: Professor Glenn Lyons and Dr Stuart Farthing

Start date: October 2002

Finish date: July 2007

Project briefing sheet: Download the briefing sheet document (PDF)

Project summary

Demand management and travel behaviour change are important goals of current transport policy. Yet much travel that is undertaken is routine and repetitive to the extent that travel behaviour may typically be habitual with no conscious decision making taking place concerning, in particular, choice of travel mode.

This research has investigated how key events can act to break habits and, temporarily at least, bring decision making for travel back into consciousness. Specifically the study has examined residential relocation.

Initial qualitative work lead to the development of a timeline in the relocation process, starting from the initial prompt for the move and continuing until a period of time after the move has taken place. Key points along this timeline have been defined, corresponding to stages when travel choices may be considered. Larger-scale quantitative work has revealed the huge variety in amount and timings of consideration of travel issues along this timeline.

Five different typologies of moves have been developed according to the timing of consideration of travel issues during the move. For some people, travel is considered in the initial prompts for and selection of the property, for others it is not considered until after the move has taken place. Different timings of consideration have been associated with different travel outcomes of the move, with change most likely to occur for those households that have either planned to do so (either decided to move in order to change travel or prompted by the potential change in circumstances presented by moving to plan to change), or have faced difficulties in continuing their previous travel patterns in their new home.

Lack of change has been associated with shorter distance moves, and where the household commutes by car, particularly single worker households. In addition to this, the timing of travel consideration has been linked to post move levels of satisfaction with availability of travel options, indicating that to encourage greater consideration of travel issues earlier during the moving process could increase these levels of satisfaction.