Car pride and its bidirectional relations with car ownership: Case studies in New York City and Houston
Author(s)Moody, Joanna Charlotte; Zhao, Jinhua
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The car fulfills not only instrumental transportation functions, but also holds important symbolic and affective meaning for its owners and users. In particular, owning and using a car can be a symbol of an individual's social status or personal image (‘car pride’). This paper introduces and validates a standard measure of car pride estimated from 12 survey statements using a cross-sectional sample of 1236 commuters in New York City and Houston metropolitan statistical areas. We find that car pride is higher in Houston than in New York City. We then empirically examine the bidirectional relation between car pride (attitude) and household car ownership (behavior) using structural equation modeling. To identify the bidirectional relationship we use an individual's general pride as the instrumental variable (IV) for that same individual's car pride; in the opposite direction, we use the average household vehicle ownership in the respondent's census block group as the IV for the respondent's household car ownership. We find that positive and statistically significant relations exist from car pride to car ownership, while the relation in the reverse direction is not statistically significant. On average and in both city subsamples, the relation from car pride to household car ownership (attitude-to-behavior) is much stronger than the reverse (behavior-to-attitude). In fact, in our models car pride is more predictive of car ownership than most individual and household socio-demographics included in traditional ownership forecasting models, including income. Empowered with a well-validated, standard measure for car pride and a robust approach for exploring reciprocal attitude-behavior relations in cross-sectional data, future research can extend the current understanding presented in this paper to explore car pride's relation with other travel behaviors, the dynamics of these attitude-behavior relations over time, and their implications for policies to promote sustainable travel behavior.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning; MIT Energy Initiative
Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice
Moody, Joanna and Jinhua Zhao. "Car pride and its bidirectional relations with car ownership: Case studies in New York City and Houston." Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice 124 (June 2019): 334-353 © 2019 Elsevier Ltd
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