237481 Cognitive Representations of Public Transit Use and Drive: A Phenomenological Study

Monday, October 31, 2011

Tao Li, MD , Department of Health Services Research and Administration, College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE
Li-Wu Chen, PhD , Department of Health Services Research and Administration, College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE
Angela Eikenberry, PhD , School of Public Administration, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha, NE
Minghui Chen, MM , Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE
Background: Motor-vehicle crash is the leading cause of death at the age group of 20 to 30 years old in the US. Although mounting evidence reveals a significant association between public transit use and community health, little up-to-date research has assessed how young people make choices between different modes of transportation. Cognition determines behavior. The purpose of this phenomenological study is to explore people's cognitive representations of public transit use and drive, which may be key to understanding their behavior and to improving community health. Methods: Phenomenological research method was selected for this study. In-depth interviews were the primary sources of data collection. A purposive sample of 18 people aged from 20 to 30 years who had experienced both using public transit and driving motor-vehicle participated in this study. Methodological rigor was attained through the application of verification, validation and validity. Results: A total of 8 themes emerged, including independence and freedom, safety concern, economic concern, personification, social-networking, hygiene concern, preference for subway over bus, and seeing public transit as an inferior substitution. The results were integrated into an in-depth, exhaustive description of the phenomenon. Conclusions: Rather than use public transit, young people prefer to drive out of not only a sense of necessity but a general and strong affinity. Full mobility may significantly affect their perception and cognition of ego-identity and self-actualization. Thus, simply enhancing the development of infrastructure is not enough to achieve the goal of increasing public transit use. Implications for practice delivery and policy were discussed.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Describe young people’s cognitive representations of public transit use and drive. Assess how young people’s cognition determines their choices of different modes of transportation.

Keywords: Behavioral Research, Motor Vehicles

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been interested in and worked on transportation-related medical and public health issues for years. I got a Bachelor Degree of Engineering in Transportation and an M.D. degree, and I am now a Ph.D. student in public health, so my education background facilitate my research in this field.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.