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The Influence of Identity on Travel Behaviour

Brooks, Jennifer C (2011) The Influence of Identity on Travel Behaviour. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales.

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This thesis uses qualitative methodology to explore the role of identity shaping travel behaviour at an individual level, with a particular interest in the role of environmental values given their significance within environmental behaviour change policy. Awareness raising and ‘smarter choices’ are increasingly being considered as positive ways to reduce individual reliance on motorised transport through promoting value change and information about transport options. However, there is now widespread acknowledgement that environmental values are not a sufficient motive for pro-environmental behaviour – the so called ‘value action gap’. Research around the value action gap has increasingly moved towards a marketing approach of segmenting the population into a series of groups with defined characteristics who are assumed to behave in similar ways. This research applies a social psychological perspective based on Harré’s (2001) ‘standard model’ of identity to answer the question: ‘what is the role of identity in shaping travel behaviour?’ The relationships between aspects of identity are explored through three themes drawn from the research: environmental values; the significance of place; and relationships with other people. In order to promote a participant-directed approach, photo elicitation methods were used with twelve participants, which then established the basis for subsequent in-depth interviews with each participant. The research establishes that identity forms an overarching framework within which decisions around travel behaviour takes place. This framework of identity includes attitudes, values, experiences, skills, and relationships with other people. Pro-environmental travel behaviour can be encouraged by influencing the identity framework, for example by promoting the development of cycling skills in children, and giving young people a store of experiences of using public transport to draw from later in life.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Urban Studies and Planning (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.559153
Depositing User: Dr Jennifer C Brooks
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2012 10:13
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2016 13:34
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/2765

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