Commuting by Car or Public Transportation? A Social Dilemma Analysis of Travel Mode Judgments

Van Vugt, M., Van Lange, P. A. M. & Meertens, R. M. Commuting by car or public transportation? A social dilemma analysis of travel mode judgments. Vol. 26. 1996. 373-395.

Examined judgments regarding the decision to commute by car vs public transportation (PT) in terms of a conflict between immediate self-interest and long-term collective interest. 192 commuters (mean age 35.8 yrs) in the Netherlands completed questionnaires regarding their social value orientation, description of a commuting situation, and a series of post-experimental questions to evaluate perceived control of travel times for car and PT in their personal commuting situation, travel convenience, time and flexibility, and protection against weather and environmental pollution. PT preferences were enhanced by the belief that it provided a shorter average travel time than car despite being as reliable, and by the impact of cars on the level of environmental pollution. A combination of the assessed factors was more effective in promoting PT than their separate effects. Preference was shaped by differences in social value orientation.

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