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Application of a Theoretical Framework as a Context for a Travel Behavior Change Policy Intervention

There has been a significant decline in active travel and a massive increase in the use of car dependent travel in many countries during the past two decades. Evidential risks for people’s physical and mental health problems are correlated with this increased use of motorized travel. These health related problems range from overweight and obesity to increased air pollution. In response to these rising concerns health professionals, traffic planers, local authorities and others have introduced a variety of initiatives to counterbalance the dominance of cars for daily journeys. However, the nature of travel behavior change interventions, which aim to reduce car use, are very complex and challenging regarding their interactions with human behavior. To change travel behavior at least two aspects have to be taken into consideration. First, how to alter attitudes and perceptions toward the sustainable and healthy modes of travel, in competition with experiences of private car use. And second, how to make these behavior change processes irreversible and sustainable. There are no comprehensive models available to guide policy interventions to increase the level of success of travel behavior change interventions across both these dimensions. A comprehensive theoretical framework is required in the effort to optimize how to facilitate and guide the processes of data collection and analysis to achieve the best possible guidelines for policy makers. Regarding the gaps in the travel behavior change research literature, this paper attempted to identify and suggest a multidimensional framework in order to facilitate planning the implemented travel behavior change interventions. A structured mixed-method model is suggested to improve the analytic power of the results according to the complexity of human behavior. In order to recognize people’s attitudes towards a specific travel mode, the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) was operationalized. But in order to capture decision making processes the Transtheoretical model of Behavior Change (TTM) was also used. Consequently, the combination of these two theories (TTM and TPB) has resulted in a synthesis with appropriate concepts to identify and design an implemented travel behavior change interventions.

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