A panel data analysis of tour-based university students’ travel behaviour

Case Studies on Transport Policy

To date, although young adults seem to be less interested in obtaining a driving licence and a car, in several countries private vehicles are still the most widely used means of transport. The growing interest in promoting sustainable modes has motivated Mobility Managers (MM) to start awareness campaigns among workers who commute by private vehicle. University students, who regularly commute to their campuses, represent a major segment of the working population. Nevertheless, few studies have investigated university students' commuting habits.

The aim of this work is to examine in depth the tour-based university students’ travel behaviour, using panel data from a sample of students from Roma Tre University.

The contribution of this paper consists in understanding the processes underlying daily travel behaviour choices, to help MMs identify the right steps to promote a correct culture and to improve public transport (PT) services.

The data used were collected during a panel survey, split into two 2-days phases. Between the two phases, a personalised travel plan was provided in order to promote more sustainable means of transport. Daily travel behaviour was monitored by collecting data through a smartphone app which registered trips/activities in real-time. The data were then exhaustively analysed by classifying the tours into many layers (main purpose, time of day, mode used and user attributes).

Analysis of the results indicate how the preferred mode of transport is the private mode and that 25% of tours were related to non-study purposes, which could be a barrier to PT mode choice.