Assessing the Demand for Travel Information: Do We Really Want to Know?



Assessing the Demand for Travel Information: Do We Really Want to Know?

Authors

G Lyons, E Avineri, S Farag, Centre for Transport & Society, University of the West of England, UK

Description

Based on two research studies, this paper explores: levels of awareness of travel information services; empirical evidence on levels of information use; and preferences for different channels of information provision.

Abstract

Transport policy and practice in many European countries has placed increasing importance on influencing people?s travel decisions in terms, especially, of which means of travel they use and which routes they take. Accordingly, there has been a continued growth in the provision of travel information services. For the last decade in the UK, for example, the Government has pursued the development of a national public transport information service (Traveline) and subsequently the development of a multimodal integrated door-to-door national web-based journey planner (Transport Direct).

Such initiatives have been driven by a goal of empowering people to make more fully informed travel choices with greater awareness of the options available to them. As the travel information marketplace has evolved and matured a key consideration has become the extent to which and in what circumstances people are in fact making use of such services. This paper examines this issue drawing upon two key sources. The first is a recently completed strategic review of travel information for the UK Department for Transport which has examined the latest international literature between 2001 and 2007. The second is an ongoing study in the UK which is examining, from a social-psychological perspective, the barriers to information use.

The paper explores: levels of awareness of travel information services; empirical evidence on levels of information use; journey contexts and person types associated with greater demand for information services; and preferences for different channels of information provision. The paper also introduces insights from decision-theory and the Extended Model of Goal Directed Behaviour drawn from social psychology to further highlight factors which influence people?s propensity to seek travel information. It is revealed that demand for information is lower than might be assumed from the perspective of all individuals being taken to be utility maximisers in the travel choice domain. In practice it is becoming increasingly clear that many people for much of the time do not seek new information to support their travel decisions. Nevertheless, it is argued that the aggregate level of demand that does exist is substantial and that meeting that demand is of value.

Publisher

Association for European Transport