Maya Abou Zeid

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

June 10, 2008, 11:15, Room GC B3 424 (click here for the map)

Exploration of Travel Well-Being in Static and Dynamic Contexts

Understanding travel well-being is important both for a better representation of travel behavior models and for the design and evaluation of policies. Two data efforts aiming at measuring and modeling travel well-being are described. The first one is a cross-sectional travel and activity well-being survey that was conducted with a sample of commuters in the summer of 2007. Two main findings emerged from the analysis of this survey. First, commute satisfaction was found to be related to commute stress, social comparison, personality, and overall well-being. Second, happiness experienced from performing an activity was found to be related to the propensity of activity participation. Despite the insights gained from the cross-sectional survey, travel behavior is mostly habitual and people don�t usually fully consider their well-being from the travel alternatives available to them. The idea of the second data collection effort, currently being conducted in Switzerland, is to force people to reconsider their travel mode choices and measure their happiness at the time those choices are made. The experiment involves a temporary switch from car to public transport for a sample of commuters with strong car habits. The perceptions, attitudes, happiness, and choices of these commuters will be measured before and after the intervention. Preliminary results from the analysis of this experiment will be described.


Maya Abou Zeid is a doctoral student at MIT specializing in travel behavior modeling. Prior to joining MIT, she was an Associate of Cambridge Systematics, Inc., with experience in travel demand modeling and market research. She received a Master�s degree in Transportation from MIT, and a Bachelor�s degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the American University of Beirut.

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