The perceived attractiveness of public transportation
Rapid urbanization, population increase, modern lifestyle and economic conditions raise the necessity for mobility, and consequently for transportation in the most developed countries (Polat, 2012). Although public transportation is considered as one of the most significant instruments of mobility, still people prefer travelling by the car. A good public transport system can motivate people to shift from their own cars to public transportation, declining, via this way, energy consumption, traffic density, car ownership and environmental pollution. Yet, forming an accurate and of high quality public transportation is a complicated task, since it deals with attitudes and perceptions. Travel behavior is based significantly on individuals’ preferences, attitudes and perceptions of different modes (Gardner et al., 2008). This thesis, therefore, aims to investigate people’s attitudes towards different aspects of public transportation focusing on its instrumental and symbolic-affective ones. A grounded theory approach in combination with factor analysis and binary logistic regression are applied. The results prove that positive attitudes towards the instrumental aspects of public transportation lead to an increase in the use of this mode while people seem to be indifferent towards the symbolic-affective aspects of public transportation and their travel behavior is not affected by these factors. Both policy makers and operators need to comprehend how passengers assess the quality of service and adapt the service to the attributes to satisfy their needs and affect a modal shift (Anable, 2005). In addition, advertising campaigns should promote the environmental benefits of travelling by public transport by transforming it into an environmental symbol, and thus offsetting the car as a symbol of status (Golob et al., 1998). Last but not least, the car is promoted as a symbol of control, force, social status and self-esteem (Steg, 2005). One solution is “De-marketing” the car by highlighting the negative aspects of using it and decreasing the power of affective connotations created by advertisements. This thesis concludes that a positive image of the mode is not enough since individuals may not choose that specific mode even if they have a positive attitude towards it (Loncar-Lucassi, 1998). Habits, cognitive dissonance, direction of causality and selfinterest motives are some of the factors having a strong influential power on travel choice than attitudes.