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The Effects of Latent Attitudinal Variables and Sociodemographic Differences on Travel Behavior in Two Small, Underdeveloped Cities in China

Gang Cheng (), Shuzhi Zhao () and Jin Li ()
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Gang Cheng: College of Transportation, Jilin University, Changchun 130000, China
Shuzhi Zhao: College of Transportation, Jilin University, Changchun 130000, China
Jin Li: College of Transportation, Jilin University, Changchun 130000, China

Sustainability, 2019, vol. 11, issue 5, 1-17

Abstract: In small, underdeveloped Chinese cities, residents have few options for transportation and travel service problems have not received enough attention from the authorities. This study examines residents’ preferred mode of travel in Lhasa and Yushu, China, two small and underdeveloped cities in which travelers tend to be economically disadvantaged. Travel data from different regions was analyzed to explore their commonalities. A structural equation model with latent variables is proposed to capture the heterogeneity not observed in the selection process. Results indicate that four of the six latent variables—preference for comfort, preference for reliability, preference for convenience and safety consciousness—are more helpful than preferences for flexibility and environmental awareness in explaining transportation utility, which could reflect residents’ travel behavior. Based on the results, respondents were divided into five groups with similar travel preferences through the k-means clustering method. The findings show that ensuring high comfort and convenience and moderate safety and reliability is conducive to increasing residents’ use of public transport. Furthermore, an examination of residents’ sociodemographic differences reflects that, in the future, active transport demand management should focus on trying to satisfy the preferences of female, low-income and elderly travelers.

Keywords: economically disadvantaged residents; travel behavior; latent attitudinal; structural equation model; difference analysis (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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