Affective Forecasting in Travel Mode Choice

Detta är en avhandling från Karlstad : Karlstad University

Sammanfattning: The general aim of this thesis was to investigate affective forecasting in the context of public transport.Paper I, Study 1 revealed that non-users of public transport were less satisfied with the services than users. It was hypothesised that non-users were biased in their satisfaction ratings, a claim that was subsequently investigated in Paper I, Study 2, where a field experiment revealed that car users suffer from an impact bias, due to being more satisfied with the services after a trial period than they predicted they would be. To address the question of whether a focusing illusion is the psychological mechanism responsible for this bias, two experiments containing critical incidents were conducted in Paper II. These experiments investigated whether car users exaggerate the impact that specific incidents have on their future satisfaction with public transport. A negative critical incident generated lower predicted satisfaction with public transport, both for car users with a stated intention to change their current travel mode (in Paper II, Study 1) and for car users with no stated intention to change their travel mode (in Paper II, Study 2), which support the hypothesis that the impact bias in car users’ predictions about future satisfaction with public transport is caused by a focusing illusion. Paper III showed that car users misremember their satisfaction with public transport as a result of their recollections of satisfaction with public transport being lower than their on-line experienced satisfaction. Additionally, the desire to repeat the public transport experience is explained only by remembered satisfaction, not by on-line experienced satisfaction. Paper IV investigated whether a defocusing technique would counteract the focusing illusion by introducing a broader context, thereby generating higher predicted satisfaction. A generic defocusing technique, conducted in Paper IV, Study 1, did not generate higher predicted satisfaction, whereas a self-relevant defocusing technique conducted in Paper IV, Study 2 generated higher predicted satisfaction with public transport. Additionally, it was found that car-use habit accounts for the level of predicted satisfaction regardless of defocusing; the stronger the car-use habit, the lower the predicted satisfaction.The conclusions from this thesis are that non-users of public transport rate the services lower than users do, and that car users become more satisfied when using the services than they predicted. These mispredictions are a result of over-focusing on a limited range of aspects in public transport (i.e., a focusing illusion). Car users’ desire to repeat the public transport experience is influenced by their inaccurate memories of the services and not by their actual experiences. However, defocusing techniques may help car users make more accurate predictions about future satisfaction with public transport; this could facilitate a mode switch from using the car to using public transport services more often. Switching to a more sustainable transport mode could be beneficial for the individual and for society.