Introduction and definition of mobility needs
In the ever-evolving landscape of transportation, the emergence of Cooperative, Connected, and Automated Mobility (CCAM) is set to transform the way we perceive and utilize transport systems. CCAM promises to make transportation more efficient, accessible, and sustainable for all citizens. To harness its full potential, it is crucial to understand and address the diverse mobility needs of the users with a special focus on people who might be underrepresented in current research and engineering approaches. For SINFONICA, mobility needs can be defined as all physical or psychological user-related requirements towards mobility solutions, like CCAM, that arise from users’ individual psychological motives, characteristics, and situational factors and determine the (intention to) use.
This blog post delves into the depths of the SINFONICA project’s deliverable D1.1, which analyzes mobility needs, psychological findings on mobility behavior, and their implications for CCAM design.
Needs and Motives: Human behavior is driven by fundamental needs and motives. The basic psychological needs theory (Ryan & Deci, 2017) identifies three universal human needs: competence, autonomy, and relatedness. Competence, or “self-efficacy” in other theories, refers to feeling capable in interactions. Autonomy involves the freedom to act in alignment with one’s beliefs, while relatedness reflects the desire to connect with others. These needs are essential for self-determination, where people act based on intrinsic motivation, a key factor in CCAM adoption. Understanding and addressing these psychological needs is therefore crucial for user-centric CCAM design.
Additionally, motives need to be considered. While many studies on automated vehicle acceptance focus on instrumental motives like travel time and cost, research on car use shows that symbolic motives (e.g., prestige, expression of self) and affective motives (e.g., pleasure, relaxation) also significantly influence travel behavior (Steg et al., 2001; Steg, 2005). Therefore, considering these motives as well can enhance the attractiveness of CCAM.
User Characteristics: Individual attributes, such as socioeconomic status, psychological characteristics, cognitive abilities, and physical condition, also shape mobility needs. Socioeconomic and sociodemographic factors include age, gender, marital status, social context, household size, education, employment, and income, indirectly impact mode choice and travel behavior. Psychological characteristics describe a person’s needs, beliefs/motives, and personality traits.
In the context of CCAM, trust, affinity for technology, and technology adoption are especially relevant. Cognitive abilities encompass skills, experiences, knowledge, mental models, literacy, and intelligence. These abilities can act as barriers to certain modes, like public transport services. Physical characteristics, including overall health, physical disabilities, and constitution, affect mobility challenges, such as limited mobility paired with hearing loss in older individuals (GOAL, 2013).
Situational Factors: Moreover, environmental conditions, i.e., living environment, trip purpose, vehicle ownership, weather, mobility culture, and more, collectively define the situational context in which mobility needs emerge. These factors dynamically interact with user characteristics, further complicating the landscape of mobility needs and requirements.
Depending on how future CCAM solutions are able to address the needs of specific user groups through their service characteristics, they provide an option to use them. Indeed, according to an extended version of Ajzen’s theory of planned behavior (Ajzen, 1991), the process of forming an intention to use and the actual use of CCAM solutions is based on the users’ individual and situational factors, attitudes, and subjective norms. On the user side, having CCAM as a transport option is perceived, ideally, as expanding the users’ travel options. If actual (objectively available options and skills) and perceived behavioral controls (users’ perception of skills and opportunity) are high, then an intention to use can be formed, and subsequently, actual use of CCAM can be expected.
To bring together all the factors described above and show the interrelationship of mobility needs and the intention to use within the SINFONICA project, we formulated a general theoretical framework of the mobility needs relevant to CCAM. The framework is based on three levels: ‘Mobility Needs’, ‘CCAM Design requirements’, and ‘Intention & Use’:
- Mobility needs are a combination of users’ characteristics and situational factors and determine the users’ requirements towards CCAM service characteristics
- CCAM Design requirements contain the user requirements towards CCAM service characteristics that arise from mobility needs.
- Intention & Use describes forming an intention to use and actual use of CCAM solutions.
The SINFONICA project’s mission to address the mobility needs of diverse user groups in the context of CCAM is an ambitious and essential endeavor. By understanding the psychological underpinnings, user characteristics, and situational factors and comprehensively defining mobility needs, SINFONICA paves the way for developing equitable, inclusive, and user-centric CCAM solutions. As the transportation landscape continues to evolve, SINFONICA’s results offer valuable insights and guidance for the future of mobility. In a world where transportation impacts everyone, achieving equity and inclusivity is not just a goal – it’s a necessity.
If you want to delve further into the topic, please look at our deliverable D1.1. The mobility needs of European citizens and their intention to use CCAM (described in D1.1) will be considered in the interviews, focus groups, and surveys that will be conducted in the SINFONIA project.
Keywords: CCAM, mobility needs, intention to use, psychological background of behavior
Authors: Madlen Ringhand, Juliane Anke from Dresden University of Technology / Chair of Traffic and Transportation Psychology
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