Normally we assume that travel is a means to an end, but the latest NITC report examines other benefits of travel—aspects that aren’t about reaching a destination.
One such benefit is travel-based multitasking. A good example of this is using time on a commuter train to listen to music, relax or get some work done. The simple enjoyment of a walk in the fresh air relates to another benefit, known as subjective well-being, in which the act of travel itself makes a person feel better. These intrinsic benefits can impact travel behavior and mode choice, but our current models don’t have any way to reflect this.
NITC fellow Patrick Singleton investigated the policy and planning implications of this in his dissertation, Exploring The Positive Utility Of Travel And Mode Choice.
"The way we analyze travel behavior assumes people want to get from A to B as quickly as possible. We don’t include the other benefits in travel demand models," Singleton said. The idea that travel can provide benefits beyond reaching destinations is known in the travel behavior field as "the positive utility of travel" (PUT) concept. Singleton’s dissertation makes some important contributions to this field. By documenting reliable and meaningful ways to measure subjective well-being from travel, the report represents an advancement in how these concepts can be investigated.
The paper also contributes novel and original...Read more