Towards a Theory of Travel Behaviour: Achievements and Challenges of the Mobility Biographies Approach
Annika Busch-Geertsema, Goethe University, Hannah Müggenburg, Goethe University, Martin Lanzendorf, Goethe University
For a long time rational decision making processes, the homo economicus and choice modelling were at the core of travel behaviour research.
For a long time rational decision making processes, the homo economicus and choice modelling were at the core of travel behaviour research. Over the last decades, however, insights in the non-rational factors of human’s decisions increased also in the travel behaviour research community. Thus, researcher’s attention raised for symbolic and emotional, attitudinal, intrinsic or habitudinal dimensions of decision making. While empirical evidence for these factors emerged, a generally acknowledged theory of travel behaviour is still missing.
One stream of research developing a theoretical framework for an improved understanding and explanation of travel behaviour is the mobility biographies approach and related work on the effects of life course events on daily travel behaviour. The main purpose of this paper is to analyse the achievements and the challenges of the approach as a travel behaviour theory. For this purpose we will (i) ask about the findings of relevant research on the effects of relevant key events, both life course and other events on daily travel, (ii) derive open questions and challenges from the available research literature, and (iii) draw some conclusions for the development of a travel behaviour theory. Among others aspects, we will question in this paper the taxinomy of key events available until now, the temporal aspects of the decision-making process, the non-symmetry of behavioural change and the interaction of various key events and their combined effect on daily travel.
Association for European Transport