Modelling the influence of peers' attitudes on choice behaviour: theory and empirical application on electric vehicle preferences

Francesco Manca, Aruna Sivakumar, Nicolò Daina, Jonn Axsen, John W Polak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
30 Downloads (Pure)


While the importance of social influence on transport-related choices is commonly acknowledged within the transport and travel behaviour research community, there remain several challenges in modelling influence in practice. This paper proposes a new analytical approach to measure the effects of attitudes of peers on the decision making process of the individual. Indeed, while most of the previous literature focused its attention on capturing conformity to a certain real or hypothetical choice, we investigate the subtle effect of attitudes that underlies this choice. Specifically, the suggested measure enables us to model the correlated effect that might indirectly affect the individual's choice within a social group. It combines detailed information on the attitudes in the individual's social network and the social proximity of the individuals in the social network. To understand its behavioural implications on the individual's choice, the individual's peer attitude variable is tested in different components of a hybrid choice model. Our results show that the inclusion of this variable indirectly affects the decision making process of the individual as the peers' attitudes are significantly related to the latent attitude of the individual. On the other hand, it does not seem to directly affect the utility of an alternative as a source of systematic heterogeneity nor does it work as a manifestation of the latent variable, i.e. as an indicator.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)278-298
Number of pages21
JournalTransportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2020


  • correlated effects
  • electric vehicle preference
  • hybrid choice models
  • individual's peer attitudes
  • social influence
  • social network


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