Residential relocation and changes in travel behavior: what is the role of social context change?

Tao Lin, Donggen WANG*, Meng Zhou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Life events such as residential relocation are considered important triggers of changes in the travel behavior of individuals because they usually result in significant changes to the built and social environments of travel behavior. A number of studies have examined the link between residential relocation and changes in travel behavior focusing on the effects of the changes in built environment. However, very few studies are concerned with the relationship between residential relocation and changes in personal social networks and neighborhood social environments and the effects of these on travel behavior. On the basis of longitudinal panel data from a two-wave household travel diary survey conducted in Beijing from 2011 to 2013, the purpose of this study is to examine to what extent residential relocation will lead to changes in residential social environment and personal social network, which trigger adjustments to travel behavior. A structural equations model is developed to empirically verify the hypothesized link. The findings highlight the importance of changes in social environments and personal social networks for explaining travel changes induced by residential relocation. The present study offers an application of using real panel data to investigate the role of social network and social environment in the relationship between residential relocation and travel behavior change. The study contributes to both the literature on life events and travel behavior and that on social networks and travel behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)360-374
Number of pages15
JournalTransportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice
Publication statusPublished - May 2018

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Transportation
  • Management Science and Operations Research

User-Defined Keywords

  • Longitudinal study
  • Panel data
  • Residential relocation
  • Social network changes
  • Travel behavior changes


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