The causation of disappearing traffic in the context of the Netherlands
Dijk, Rick van
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Taking away infrastructure for the car is often predicted to cause problems in neighboring streets as the traffic diverts. Cairns, Atkins, and Goodwin (2001) beg to differ as they state that, depending on local circumstances, overall traffic levels significantly drop as people have a wider range of behavioral responses than predicted. This is also known as disappearing traffic. To this day there is little research done regarding disappearing traffic. This research aims to provide insights into the effects of discouraging measures towards the car on the travel behavior of car drivers. The following main research question is used; Under what circumstances are car drivers changing their travel behavior and how do they cause traffic to disappear? This research is executed through the use of a literature research and an online stated preference survey. The survey was filled in by a total of 414 respondents. Multiple factors influence whether respondents change their travel behavior. First, it depends on the travel motive. Results show that people are more bound to the car for the travel motive ‘’Social and Recreative’’ in comparison to the travel motives ‘’Work & Study’’ and ‘’Household & Services’’. The average distance for this travel motive is also longer compared to the other travel motives, so the effect on travel behavior of extra travel time is less. On top of that is this a less common trip, making people less likely to deviate from their current travel behavior. Other results show that extra travel time towards the car has a bigger impact on whether people choose their travel behavior in comparison to extra travel time in the car. More people state that they would change their travel behavior when their travel time would be increased by 5 minutes compared to an extra five minutes on the road. Therefore is it more alluring to focus on increasing the travel time towards the car instead of taking measures that increase the travel time in the car. Having an alternative is an important factor in whether people change their travel behavior or not. This is obvious, but it does highlight the importance of having good facilities for alternative modalities. Also, education plays a role in whether people switch. Results show that higher-educated people are more likely to step out of the car in comparison to lower-educated people. This might be due to income making it easier for higher-educated people to afford other modalities but many high-educated people also work in the service sector. Offices in the service sector are often located in easily accessible places making it easier to take public transport or the bike. Regarding how people cause traffic to disappear showed the results that more respondents indicated for all the travel motives and scenarios that they would not make the trip anymore compared to the number of respondents that indicated that they would switch modalities. Especially for the travel motive ‘’Work and Study’’ is this the case where almost double the amount of respondents indicate that they would not make that trip anymore (24.4% vs.13.4%). In the case that people switch modalities, the bike is the most chosen alternative, especially for the travel motives ‘’Household & Services’’ and ‘’Work & study’’. Some respondents do choose public transport but not as much as the bike. Public transportation is mainly seen as a good alternative for the travel motives ‘’Social & Recreative’’ and ‘’Work & Study’’.