The Influence of Perceptions of Space and Opportunity on Users' Responses to a New Public Transport System
PARKHURST G, University College London, UK
This paper considers how the introduction of the 30km South Yorkshire Supertram light railway network into the built environment of Sheffield, UK has resulted in a new mode being added to individuals' travel choice-sets. Since 1993, the author has been co
This paper considers how the introduction of the 30km South Yorkshire Supertram light railway network into the built environment of Sheffield, UK has resulted in a new mode being added to individuals' travel choice-sets. Since 1993, the author has been conducting qualitative research on households recruited from a panel survey conducted by the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive. Originally, 56 were selected, situated within approximately 1000m of the future Supertram lines.
Some selectivity was also employed to maintain breath within the sample in terms of spatial location within Sheffield, age and type of household, type of employment and crude, initial attitude to Supertram. With the opening of Supertram, follow-up research was undertaken in Autumn 1995, with the 36 households that had provided satisfactory data in 1993, and were still available for interview. Forty-nine adults appeared in both study waves.
In the first wave, background information about the interviewees activities, travel needs, views on living in Sheffield and attitudes towards Supertram were elicited using an open-ended, minimal-prompting interciew structure. Subsequently, in 1995, a more 'customised' interview format was followed, checking whether the attitudes and behaviour described in 1993 had changed, together with a detailed discussion about actual experience of Supertram and the attitudes held about the system following opening.
This research was guided by theoretical background from environmental cognition, an interdisciplinary field located between psychology, geography and others concerned with the built environment. The first half of this paper discusses a model proposed by the author to demonstrate how habitual travel can be influenced by novel opportunity. It is based on the crucial principle that individual decisions are made in a social context. To this end, environmental-cognitive and social psychological theory is integrated with a basic model of travel behaviour. The second half of the paper outlines some of the results and discusses their relevance to future large-scale transport infrastructure planning.
Association for European Transport