On 04 April 2019, Aliasghar Mehdizadeh Dastjerdi defended his PhD thesis entitled “ATIS and Commuters Behavior: Factors Affecting Behavioral Intentions Toward the Use of Travel Information Technology.”
He was supervised by prof. Francisco Pereira as principal supervisor and prof. Sigal Kaplan (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem) as co-supervisor.
Examiners were prof. Yoram Shiftan (Israel Institute of Technology), prof. Elisabetta Cherchi (Newcastle University) and prof. Stefan Eriksen Mabit (DTU).
Find below the abstract of the thesis! For more information, feel free to contact Meghdad at email@example.com.
“Transport activity has a range of negative effects including congestion, air pollution, CO2 emissions and accidents. Furthermore, the increasing complexity and demand of transport services strains transportation systems especially in urban settings with limited possibilities for building new infrastructure. Such transport–related issues have urged the need for encouraging sustainable urban mobility. While technological advances can alleviate these issues, it is widely recognized that changing travel behavior can be more important in achieving modal shift i.e. from car use to active mode or public transport.
In recent years, one of the solutions that have received a lot of attention to motivate change for sustainable urban mobility is information dissemination and persuasion delivered through mobilitymanagement travel apps, also known as persuasive technology. They have gained popularity in interventions to change users attitude/behavior through providing health and environmental feedback, tailoring travel options, self-monitoring, tunneling users toward green behavior, social networking, nudging and gamification elements. However, their influence to promote sustainability depends mostly on how individuals react to them and adapt their behavior. More specifically, their efficacy highly depends on understanding the underlying mechanisms and processes of behavior change, i.e., why and how behavior change occurs and what driving forces and determinants guide behavior.
This PhD study aims at creating a better understanding of the motivators and barriers for persuasive travel apps market penetration, which will aid relevant stakeholders to design effective and appealing system, eventually translating into wider potential of sustainable mobility behavior. This study investigates the contributing factors to the use of a multi-faceted mobile app including both multimodal real-time traffic information and persuasive features. Most of the research regarding information technologies concerns their prospective impact and literature review revealed a lack of understanding about how individuals are motivated to accept and adopt mobility-management travel apps. Furthermore, there is a lack of sufficient attention to explain users’ behavior of the travel apps with support from behavioral theories. The main contribution of this PhD study is to provide knowledge of critical aspects when considering persuasive features for the purpose of sustainable mobility. It is achieved through behavioral theories, establishing theoretical frameworks and considering users perspective. This contributes to a better explanation of the user-sided heterogeneity, and accordingly to move away from the concept of “one size fits all” solution.
In this context, Alderfer’s ERG model of human needs, Lindenberg’s goal-framing theory, and Bandura’s triadic reciprocal determinism were employed in order to accomplish a well-founded research in behavioral theories. The theoretical frameworks were developed based on the above mentioned behavior theories and tested empirically using three different technology preference datasets collected specifically for this purpose. Structural equation modeling (SEM), Bayesian structural equation modeling (BSEM) and Max-Min Hill-Climbing (MMHC) for discovering causal structure were used to analyze the collected data.
The findings revealed that users could exhibit different behaviors according to socio-economic characteristics, travel habits, attitudinal factors etc. Therefore, the motivations for choices are specific to individual users and depend on wide-ranging factors that go beyond traditional economic and sociodemographic methods. The findings showed the importance of non-monetary motives in influencing the use of persuasive features of mobility-management travel apps. However, the results highlighted the domination of self-interest motives of trip efficiency improvement for the adoption intention. It was revealed that the barriers embedded in the functions of the travel app negatively influence its adoption. In this regard, the two dimensions influencing the appraisal of acceptance of the app, relate with low usage risk and high usability. The findings showed that technophiles are an important target user group of mobility-management travel apps. The results indicated the importance of pro-environmental attitude and responsibility since they not only develop non-monetary values of using mobility management travel apps, but also foster users’ engagement and attraction. The findings also suggested the importance of social dynamics behind the information system in influencing users’ attitude and behavior. More specifically, people’s emotional connections with the city, their trust on each other and on transport organizations play an important role in the attraction and engagement.”