Travel Satisfaction vs. Life Satisfaction: A Weighted Decision-Making Approach

Zahra Zarabi, Philippe Gerber, Sébastien Lord

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Numerous studies have found that travel mode choice is related to mode-specific attitudes as well as travel-related satisfaction. While choosing a travel mode that is congruent with attitudes towards that mode (i.e., consonance) brings about travel satisfaction, travel-related satisfaction can result in the choice of a travel mode which is not necessarily consistent with (all) attitudes (i.e., dissonance). However, few studies have analyzed the extent to which consonance and dissonance affect or are affected by the overall travel-related satisfaction. This paper aims at understanding whether respondents with a positive attitude towards a certain mode will actually use the mode, and whether consonant travelers are more satisfied with their trips and travel-related situations compared to their dissonant counterparts. Additionally, research in this area is dominated by the use of quantitative methods, leading to a lack of understanding of the complexity of subjective factors such as attitudes and values. In this study, with a retrospective mixed method approach, 1977 (in the quantitative section) and 19 (in the qualitative section) employees who have experienced an involuntary relocation of their workplace have been examined vis-à-vis their travel-related values and attitudes, corresponding choices, and satisfaction. Results from our quantitative analyses indicate that first, the relocation of the workplace was associated with increased public transit use and travel satisfaction; and second, surprisingly, the share of dissonant active mode users was relatively high compared to other modes (except bus). Our qualitative analyses revealed that individuals do not necessarily use the most positively valued travel mode due to lack of accessibility and competences, but also due to having preferences for other travel-related elements such as travel route. Furthermore, travel mode consonance (or dissonance) and travel satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) are not necessarily positively related because (i) individuals attribute different weights to their travel-related attitudes and values, and (ii) satisfaction in other life domains can make a travel dissatisfaction bearable or even favorable.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5309
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 26 Sep 2019


  • travel behavior
  • attitudes
  • values
  • travel satisfaction
  • life satisfaction
  • Montréal

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