Dynamics in social activity-travel patterns : analyzing the role of life events and path dependence in face-to-face and ICT-mediated social interactions

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Social activity-travel accounts for an increasing share of total travel distance and is important for people's quality of life. Although our understanding of the role of transport on social interactions has recently increased, the dynamics of social activities still need further evidence. The objective of this paper is therefore to study the dynamics in social interaction frequency. Analyses are based on a sample of 139 respondents who were surveyed in 2008 and 2014 in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. The data collection instrument included a questionnaire and a two-day social interaction diary to collect data on face-to-face social interactions and social interactions mediated by communication technology. A path analysis model is estimated to predict the number of face-to-face and ICT-mediated social interactions in 2014 as a function of personal socio-demographic characteristics, mobility behavior and life cycle events experienced between 2008 and 2014 and the number of face-to-face and ICT-mediated social interactions in 2008. The results show path dependence effects for both face-to-face and ICT-mediated social interaction frequencies, suggesting that history can partly explain current behavior. Socio-demographics, mobility characteristics and life-cycle events also play a role in face-to-face social interaction frequency, whereas no effects of life-cycle events were found for ICT-mediated social interaction frequency.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-37
Number of pages9
JournalResearch in Transportation Economics
Early online date2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018



  • Communication technology
  • Life-cycle events
  • Mobility behaviour
  • Social contact
  • Structural equation modelling
  • Travel behaviour

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