Reference points in travel satisfaction: Travel preference, travel experience, or peers’ travel?

Xiaodong Guan, Meng Zhou*, Donggen Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Studies on travel satisfaction have proliferated recently. However, research efforts to conceptualize travel satisfaction are relatively scarce. One important issue is what reference points people use to evaluate travel satisfaction. While previous research considered travel preference as a reference point, people may compare travels to other reference points, such as travel experience and peers’ travel. This paper aims to clarify the role of preferred, past, and peers’ travels in travel satisfaction. Multi-group structural equation models are adopted to capture the heterogeneity of such effect across commuters by different transport modes. Household travel survey data collected in 2018 in Shanghai, China are used for modeling. We found that all three reference points are at play in evaluating travel satisfaction. Preferred and peers’ travels matter more for commuters using motorized transport modes than those using non-motorized modes; travel experience matters less for commuters by public transport than those by other transport modes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103929
Number of pages17
JournalTransportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment
Early online date9 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Transportation
  • Environmental Science(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Travel satisfaction
  • Travel preference
  • Travel experience
  • Peers’ effect
  • Shanghai


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