The informed traveller : a proposed travel demand management intervention technique
Thesis (MCom)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.
ENGLISH SUMMARY : It is widely believed that the average private vehicle user does not perceive their cost of travel accurately. This inaccurate perception of costs leads to a waste of resources and increased negative transport externalities. The focus of this research study was to investigate whether the sharing of actual personalised cost information could result in an alteration in travel behaviour, with the aim to assess whether sharing personalised cost information could be successfully implemented as a potential Travel Demand Management (TDM) measure. The steps followed throughout this study included conducting surveys and tracking individual travel patterns before and after exposure to information regarding travel behaviour. The questionnaire administered before the tracking period contained questions about demographics, perceptions of transport, and vehicle characteristics. The vehicle characteristics questions, coupled with the use of global positioning system (GPS) devices for vehicle tracking, were included in order to assist in the calculation of actual monetary and environmental costs incurred. Following the original questionnaire, the individuals were tracked for a total period of four weeks. The first week was used to determine a “base” travel behaviour pattern as this week was prior to any information sharing. The subsequent weeks allowed for any change in travel behaviour to be identified due to the information sharing, which took place every Monday after the base week. In total, 23 participants took part in this study and had their private vehicles tracked during the four week period. Participants also answered questions pertaining to their demographics and their perceptions regarding transportation. A second questionnaire was conducted after the four-week tracking period, this questionnaire assisted in identifying any shifts in perception regarding costs and emissions that the participants may have experienced. Of the 23 participants, 19 completed the final questionnaire. In addition, the dissertation attempted to determine whether certain subsets of the population were more likely to alter their travel behaviour patterns when exposed to certain motivational drivers. To achieve this, a secondary dataset was sourced from the Stellenbosch University Mobility Study, which took place in 2015 and, once cleaned, had a total of 853 participant responses that could be analysed (see Venter, Hitge, Krygsman & Thiart, 2018). Unfortunately, due to the relatively small number of participants and short tracking period of this study, no statistically significant findings were uncovered. However, an in-depth investigation into the various trends and graphs identified was made. One indicator that holds great promise regarding future TDM techniques such as this one was the shift in estimated cost, where a general increase of around 27% in perceived costs was experienced after participants were exposed to the informational invoices generated from the GPS tracking data. This indicator illustrates internalisation regarding the cost information shared with participants. If this internalisation is maintained for an extended period of time, it could potentially manifest into changes in travel behaviour. A longitudinal study of the 23 participants could potentially be conducted in the future to determine whether this manifestation did take place. In conclusion it is recommended that any future studies relating to similar work should investigate the impacts of informational TDMs on either the same 23 participants or larger sample group sizes, across a longer period of time, to allow for the identification of statistically significant alterations in behaviour. In the future, electric vehicles will become more prominent among private vehicle users. The use of these vehicles would reduce environmental impacts and alter monetary cost calculations regarding vehicle usage. Due to this it is suggested that the impacts of electric vehicles also be included in future research.
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