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Open AccessArticle

Mapping the Emotional Experience of Travel to Understand Cycle-Transit User Behavior

1
Department of Geography, Planning, and Sustainability, School of Earth and Environment, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ 08028, USA
2
Office of Sustainability, West Chester University, West Chester, PA 19383, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4743; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174743
Received: 23 June 2019 / Revised: 25 August 2019 / Accepted: 28 August 2019 / Published: 30 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Mobility: Social, Technological and Environmental Issues)
People experience emotions during travel. Driving, riding a bicycle, taking transit, and walking all involve multiple mental processes, potentially leading to various ranges of emotions such as fear, anger, sorrow, joy, and anticipation. Understanding the link between emotions and transportation environments is critical to planning efforts aiming to bring about a more environmentally sustainable society. In this paper, we identified, geo-coded, analyzed, and visualized emotions experienced by cycle–transit users, or CTUs, who combine bicycling and public transit in a single trip. We addressed two research questions: (1) What types of emotions do CTUs experience, why, and where? (2) How can mapping and understanding these emotions help urban planners comprehend CTU travel behavior and build a more sustainable transportation system? Based on 74 surveys completed by CTUs in Philadelphia, USA, we performed a content analysis of textual data and sketch maps, coded for emotional content, attached emotions with geo-referenced locations using GIS, and finally created four types of emotional maps. Overall, CTUs expressed 50 negative and 31 positive sentiments. Anger was the most frequently identified emotion, followed by disgust, fear, sadness, and joy. Twenty-five transportation planners reviewed the maps; the majority found that the maps could effectively convey an emotional account of a journey, opinions on routes and locations, or emotions attached to them. This paper advances theory and practice in two ways. First, the method privileges a heretofore little examined form of knowledge—the emotional experience of CTUs—and transportation planners confirm the value of this knowledge for practice. Second, it extends the study of emotional geographies to the transportation environment, pointing out venues for additional planning interventions. We conclude that mapping emotions reveals a more comprehensive understanding of travel experience that aids in better transportation planning and happier neighborhoods. View Full-Text
Keywords: cycle–transit users; non-motorized transportation planning; qualitative GIS; emotional mapping; emotions; happiness studies cycle–transit users; non-motorized transportation planning; qualitative GIS; emotional mapping; emotions; happiness studies
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Meenar, M.; Flamm, B.; Keenan, K. Mapping the Emotional Experience of Travel to Understand Cycle-Transit User Behavior. Sustainability 2019, 11, 4743.

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