Impact of Life Events on Incremental Travel Behavior Change

Usman Ahmed, Rolf Moeckel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Travel demand models regenerate the travel behavior of persons or households from scratch at every model run. However, the literature suggests that travel behavior remains relatively stable over time. Change in travel behavior is triggered by life events such as change in employment, household relocation, or birth of a child. The inability of existing travel demand models to represent habitual travel behavior and change in travel behavior of a person/household becuase of life events tends to exaggerate policy sensitivity and result in longer model run times to recreate travel behavior for every agent. In this study, we examined the travel behavior of persons between two consecutive years using a mobility panel survey from Germany. The travel behavior of persons with and without a life event is compared econometrically. Here, the travel behavior is measured as the number of weekly trips by activity type and mode and the impacts of six types of life events are studied. The results show that life events affect travel behavior, but the degree of impact varies by the type of life event, the trip purpose, and the mode. In some cases the impact is found to be negligible, but for many other cases the impact is profound. Moreover, general trends (not affected by life event) in travel behavior are also found. It is concluded that such dynamics in travel behavior should be represented by travel demand models for more sensible policy testing and computationally efficient travel demand models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)594-605
Number of pages12
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2023


  • activity-based modeling
  • behavior analysis
  • planning and analysis
  • traveler behavior and values


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