Behaviour change dynamics in response to rewarding rush-hour avoidance: A qualitative research approach

Ben-Elia, E., Ettema, D. and Boeije, H. (2011) Behaviour change dynamics in response to rewarding rush-hour avoidance: A qualitative research approach. In: 90th Annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board, Washington D.C., USA, 2011. Available from:

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Spitsmijden (peak avoidance is Dutch) is a new travel demand measure introduced in the Netherlands. It is based on rewarding frequent car commuters for avoiding the rush-hour, using monetary incentives. Although previous quantitative analyses had revealed many of the factors influencing car users’ responses to rewards, their decision to participate and the order of magnitude of rush hour travel reduction, several questions remained regarding participants motivations to participate and avoid the rush hour, and how their behaviour and motives develop throughout the reward period. Qualitative research methods (semi-structured interviews) were applied to tackle these questions. The analysis, involving 12 participants, suggests their motivations and behaviour are not stable and that a process takes place in which the rewarding gradually leads to behavioural change. Although the reward is the initial motivation to enrol and avoid the peak, many participants find travel options that are in themselves rewarding, leading to intrinsic motivation to sustain their behaviour. Some eventually choose a single new travel option (stabilisers), while others optimise their choice using dynamic traffic information (flexibles). Those who do not find attractive alternatives do not develop intrinsic motivation and fall back to their old behaviour when the reward ceases (relapsers). From a methodological point of view, the qualitative method used has significant added value to quantitative methods applied earlier in the sense that processes can be identified in which motivational, behavioural and contextual factors interact, leading to richer descriptions and improved insights into the behavioural adaptation process in response to congestion management measures.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information:This paper was peer-reviewed by Transportation Research Board and presented at the Transportation Research Board annual meeting 2011.
Uncontrolled Keywords:behaviour-change, congestion, motivation, qualitative research, rewards, semi-structured interviews
ID Code:14178
Deposited By: J. Triggle
Deposited On:08 Apr 2011 11:10
Last Modified:14 Dec 2017 06:40

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