Simulation survey techniques to assess consumer travel behavior under conditions of energy constraint: a phenomenological model of decision making

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Waggoner, Kathleen
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Sociology and Anthropology

The objective of this dissertation is to provide an accurate assessment of travel behavior under conditions of gasoline rationing. The intent is to construct a model of decision-making which discards many of the theoretical and methodological assumptions which have become accepted and reified over the years in social science research;This study involves the use of questionnaire items designed to assess attitudes held toward the gasoline shortages. It also includes the development of a carefully constructed and "real world" gasoline rationing simulation. It is believed that the methodological flexibility of computer simulation techniques used in combination with an attitude survey permits a more adequate analysis of the multiplicity of attitudinal and situational factors which work together to produce behavior;The method of data analysis chosen for this study was contingent upon both the theory and the methodology adopted. This is a descriptive study which called for the flexibility to account for serendipitous findings. The focus is on describing the degree to which certain travel decision patterns occur. Presimulation and postsimulation frequency distributions are examined which suggest the knowledge and experience presented by SHORTAGE, a gasoline rationing simulation, lead to a significant change in attitude toward the gasoline shortages. It is demonstrated that no statistically significant relationships exist between attitude toward the gasoline shortages and actual decisions made during participation in SHORTAGE. Insights are, however, gained, into the types of decisions consumers might make relative to their attitudes toward the gasoline shortages. Often, those decisions made which are the "most" acceptable, yield consequences that are as constraining as those which might encourage breaking the law in order to continue freedom in transportation mobility. The individual is as likely to make questionable decisions as he is to maintain strict conformity to the Law; The dissertation concludes with the suggestion that, while gasoline rationing might be expected to produce minor abuses, the American people are reasonably cooperative when they see reasonable grounds for being asked to make sacrifices.

Sat Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 1983