Department of Management

The role of car ownership in attitudes towards public transport: A comparative study of Guangzhou and Brisbane

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  • Sui Tao, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • Sylvia He, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • John Thøgersen
Car ownership has often been linked to a strong commitment to car use and a tendency to undervalue alternative transport modes, thereby potentially biasing people away from using more environmental friendly transport modes such as public transport. Although a considerable body of research has shed light on the attitudinal dimensions of car ownership and usage, few have investigated the potential influence of car ownership on the attitudes towards alternative transport modes from an international comparative perspective. Across cities with distinct mobility culture and economic background, car ownership may have differentiated influences on how people view different transport modes. Yet little research exists in this area. This study aims to bridge this knowledge gap by investigating the relationship between car ownership and attitudes towards public transport in two vastly different metropolises, Guangzhou, China and Brisbane, Australia, while taking account of environmental concern, past behaviour and socio-demographic characteristics. Drawing on two survey data sets, we derived measurements that directly compare the perceived difference between bus transit and cars, and constructed latent attitudinal variables based on loose-matching and strict-matching criteria to enable more robust test of hypotheses. Using structural equation modelling (SEM), our analysis shows that car ownership appeared to significantly contribute to the perceived disparity between public transport service and car in Guangzhou, but not in Brisbane. Furthermore, environmental concern was found to have stronger influence on transport-mode attitudes in Brisbane. Recommendations are developed to inform local policies to promote more sustainable urban transportation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTransportation Research. Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour
Pages (from-to)685-699
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Research areas

  • ATTRIBUTES, Attitudes, COMMUTING MODE, CONTEXT, Car ownership, DEMAND MANAGEMENT, DETERMINANTS, Environmental concerns, IMPACT, Modal choice behaviour, PERCEPTIONS, PLANNED BEHAVIOR, PRIVATE CAR, Past behaviour, Public transport, TRAVEL MODE CHOICES

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