The Impact of Travel Information On Recreational Travel

The Impact of Travel Information On Recreational Travel


R van der Horst, Utrecht University, NL



Recreational traffic has rapidly increased over the last decades. As a consequence, congestion and decreased accessibility have become relevant topics in recreational traffic. An important tool used to relieve negative effects of congestion in general, is the application of various dynamic traffic management (DTM), including information provision. Information provided to commuters enables them to anticipate to delays or unforeseen circumstances by changing departure time, route, mode or even destination. However, recreational travel is different from daily commuting since it involves non-routine decisions. The question therefore is what travel information is used and how it affects recreational trip decisions.

This paper aims to answer the above question specifically for destination choice, based on a data collection that was designed for this specific purpose. In the data collection subjects are questioned regarding their general use of information through various channels, information use with respect to recreational trips and in respect to the last recreational trip taken. In addition, more general questions regarding attitudes, travel behaviour and theme park visits are included. Information use for mode choice and destination choice related to theme park visits is the main focus, and is explicitly investigated in the questionnaire. The data collection took place in the Netherlands and received a response of approximately 300.

Based on the data several relationships are investigated in this paper. First of all, the timing and frequency of information search is investigated. Furthermore, the specific information search on the topic of theme parks is assessed. For example, the effects of socio demographic variables, attitudes and general IT use on the specific information searched for and used for theme park visits is determined. We also look at the relationships between general and specific information use For instance, the impact of general information use on choice of information channel for specific theme park information. Finally, a comparison is made between information use when an alternative theme park is considered and information use when there is no alternative considered. For example, are there differences in information channel used or timing when travellers have several theme parks to choose between? Several statistical tests, such as discrete choice modelling and decision trees are applied to find relevant relationships.

Results are interpreted in context of the information processing theory proposed by Bettman and the short-term decision-making process described by Crompton. The paper concludes with a discussion on the implications for transport policy.


Association for European Transport