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An Investigation in Decision Making and Destination Choice Incorporating Place Meaning and Social Network Influences

Deutsch, Kathleen Elizabeth
Degree Grantor:
University of California, Santa Barbara. Geography
Degree Supervisor:
Konstadinos G. Goulias
Place of Publication:
[Santa Barbara, Calif.]
University of California, Santa Barbara
Creation Date:
Issued Date:
Recreation, Transportation, Geography, and Psychology, Behavioral
Sense of Place
Travel Behavior
Decision Making
Social Networks
Discrete Choice Analysis
Transportation Planning
Dissertations, Academic and Online resources
Ph.D.--University of California, Santa Barbara, 2013

Travel demand models in the field of transportation have become increasingly sophisticated through the past several decades. The use of activity based modeling methods requires the integration of highly detailed information with statistical models but still substantial variation is unobserved. The pursuit of richer and more accurate models requires thinking outside of the proverbial box, and extending our research into various directions. This dissertation examines the process of destination choice, and the potential influence of place meaning and social networks in the process and in our ability to computationally replicate and predict behavior. Aspects of place meaning are examined, including different geographical aggregations, and the contributions of several theories such as sense of place. In addition, the role of individuals as decision makers is examined, in an attempt to determine whether there are different situations in which an individual's preferences or attitudes have more weight in the decision process. The research presented in this dissertation is motivated by the theoretical assumptions and underpinnings of the discrete choice framework. Misspecification of choice models can lead to incorrect estimations, or biased parameters. It is therefore important to take care in specifying the models as accurately as possible to the actual decision process, and not relying on a stochastic error term to correct for any absent information. Although this work is framed by the discrete choice framework, the implications of the research also apply to broader domains in planning.

Results show that we can and should include sense of place attributes in a quantitative manner in modeling behavior. In addition, attitudes and perceptions of attributes of place can be used to challenge current assessments of accessibility and attraction to parts of a region. Though sense of place is a well-founded and widely discussed theory, there is still a considerable amount of work to do in capturing the emotional aspects of place in a quantitative manner. The work in this dissertation also explores the potential and shortfalls of the quantification of sense of place, and how we might better incorporated the phenomenon in models of decision-making. Lastly, findings of research conducted on the influence of social networks on decision making show that there is a wide range of cooperative decision making strategies, and as such, we must be more careful to model the influence of individuals in decision making more accurately.

Physical Description:
1 online resource (223 pages)
UCSB electronic theses and dissertations
Catalog System Number:
Inc.icon only.dark In Copyright
Copyright Holder:
Kathleen Deutsch
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