Exploring people's willingness to bike using a combination of the theory of planned behavioural and the transtheoretical model

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Introduction The amount of travel by car is increasing, leading to negative effects on our environment and on our own quality of life. In order to achieve a change in a more pro-environmental direction, it is important to understand the decision making process of travel behavior.

Objective The aim of this study is to explore important factors determining people's willingness to bike using two well-established theories namely: the theory of planned behaviour (TPB) and the transtheoretical model of change (TTM). Studies have found that habits help to understand travel mode choice a further aim was therefore to determine the relationship between habit and TTM.

Method This study included a sample of 414 people drawn from the general public who had to respond to a questionnaire based around a journey they most often made during one week.

Results The results confirmed that the constructs, as measured by the TPB, only distinguished between precontemplation and contemplation and between preparation and action. The introduction of habit revealed that it was mainly people at the first and the last stage where the behaviour could be considered to be automatic. The results also showed that the relationship between the TPB and the TTM was mainly linear, but also quadratic. This study explored respondents' behavioural beliefs and based on these results, using factor analysis, three components were presented. In general people agreed that cycling was good for their health and the environment. What differentiated them were aspects related to the pros and cons of cycling, perceived consequences became more positive and less negative with advancing stages.

Conclusion This study suggests that the combination of TPB and the TTM is useful when trying to understand modal choice. However, the study strongly argues that it is the multidimensional nature of the constructs, which is interesting rather than purely focusing on separate ones. It also suggests that even if short-term benefits are strongly related to the process of change, negative ones need to be addressed and taken seriously if we want people to persist with their new behaviour. Implications of the current findings for the description of people at the different stages are discussed. 

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