Sunitiyoso, Yos, Avineri, Erel and Chatterjee, Kiron
The role of social interactions in travel behaviour: designing experimental tools to explore the behavioural assumptions
At Workshop of Frontiers in Transportation: Social Interactions, Netherlands.
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The understanding of how travel behaviour develops and changes over time is important in order to find the possibilities for influencing the changes of behaviour. Traveller’s decision to change her/his behaviour may due to new information regarding others’ behaviour. Three levels of social interaction, which may due to an interdependent situation between travellers, observation on other travellers’ behaviour, and communication between travellers, are being considered in this study.
This work aims to apply an inductive method of study, which is a laboratory experiment, for investigating the potential effect of these three levels of social interaction on the dynamics of travellers’ behaviour. We demonstrate how this research method may help us in the understanding of the role of social interactions on travellers’ behaviour in both system and individual levels. Two small-scale experiments are presented to provide valuable information regarding potential effects of social interaction in the three levels of interaction.
There are indications that providing participants with opportunity for observing other participants’ behaviour and opportunity for communicating with other participants do influence their behaviour. In some cases, the influence may not be so visible at aggregate level but can be seen at individual or group level. The effects of social interactions may differ between different individuals or different groups of individuals. Some individuals (and groups of individuals) increase their contributions after receiving social information about individuals/groups or after communicating with other group members, while others use the information for their individual benefits by ‘free-riding’ on others’ contributions. The rest are not affected at all by the social information and/or communication.
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