Weather, transport mode choices and emotional travel experiences
Lars Böcker, Martin Dijst and Jan Faber investigate how and to what extent weather conditions affect transport mode choices, outdoor thermal perceptions and emotional travel experiences
With climate change high on the political agenda, weather has emerged as an important issue in travel behavioural research and urban planning. While various studies demonstrate profound effects of weather on travel behaviours, limited attention has been paid to subjective weather experiences and the psychological mechanisms that may (partially) underlie these effects. This paper integrates theoretical insights on outdoor thermal comfort, weather perceptions and emotional experiences in the context of travel behaviour. Drawing on unique panel travel diary data for 945 Greater Rotterdam respondents (The Netherlands), this paper aims to investigate how and to what extent weather conditions affect transport mode choices, outdoor thermal perceptions and emotional travel experiences. Our findings point out that observed dry, calm, sunny and warm but not too hot weather conditions stimulate cycling over other transport modes and – via mechanisms of thermal and mechanical comfort – lead to more pleasant emotions during travel. Overall, public transport users have less pleasant emotional experiences than users of other transport modes, while active mode users appear most weather sensitive. The theoretical contributions and empirical findings are discussed in the context of climate change and climate-sensitive urban planning.