The aim of this thesis is to explore the life situation and travel habit of the residents, and social norms spillover to be utilized as an instrument for mode shift towards low carbon mobile society and to direct policy to alter ingrained habits and behaviour. It is driven by the current situation of a car-dominated city, which not only causes inconvenience of work commuters but also has an immense negative effect on the environment and air condition. Besides, Bhutan has committed to remain carbon neutral in NDCs Paris agreement and transport being the major fossil fuel consumer in Bhutan, it is critical to amend the business as usual scenario. A transition in behaviour change is the key answer in achieving various sustainable development goals for which understanding the attributes that drive individual travel behaviour is essential to assimilate primarily. The focus was on understanding the determinates that construct the mode choice habit with the theory of planned behaviour and the role of policy that affect the mode choice behaviour of the work commuters. A framework on mode choice behaviour is observed within a complex system occurred due to multiple causes as per the surrounding environment, situation, social group (friends or family) and the individual personal characteristics. The behaviour observation reveals the strength and weaknesses of an individual or a society and the theories suggest that the determinants of modal choice would primarily influence the psychological construct of the mode choice. The determinants are tested for direct effect and the effect when mediated by psychological factors. The results reveal that individual personal capabilities better-predicted mode choice without psychological mediation. The social norm and policy approach excels in predicting mode choice when intervened by the psychological cognition. The personal capabilities of ownership, travel expenditure and the distance parameters significantly affects individual mode choice to commute to work. Psychological factors (attitude, personal norm and intention) when intervened for the infrastructure change policy perception instigates car use while the economy change policy and social expectation to use non-motorized transport mode instigate for car reduction. The sustainability and environmental concerns computed for pro-environment travel behaviour, predict an intention for car reduction, however, not statistically significant in predicting mode choice directly. The statistical result of the study is based upon the raw survey data responded by 335 employed population residing in Thimphu. The recommendations and analysis are further supplemented by the interviews and open-ended survey question. The transport policies are either at infant stage or lack specific guidelines/regulations for separate transport modes and policy formulation would require moving from a top-down, technocratic and driven by technical expertise involving only a few stakeholders towards facilitating a transition to sustainable contemporary mobility practice. The low popularity of PT is majorly due to the inadequacy and lack of e-services causing inconvenience of the schedule and these interventions are deemed possible to intervene promptly. The municipality would require to enhance non-motorized transport infrastructure to promote walking and cycling as per the vision of the Thimphu structure plan. The study recommends future research on sociotechnical transition, economy estimates of travel habit and experimental research on travel behaviour. Keywords: travel behaviour, psychological factors, theory of planned behaviour, policy, carbon emission, car, work commuters, social norm, Thimphu, mode choice.

Sharma, S. Somesh
Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies

Lhamu, Y. Yangchen. (2019, September). Travel behaviour of work commuters in Thimphu, Bhutan. Retrieved from