The role of habits in influencing transportation behaviour is acknowledged in many studies. However, most of these analyses draw on a narrow perspective of habits. In this paper, we adopt a reversed perspective regarding the interplay between habits and rationality. The insightfulness of this perspective is illustrated with the findings of two empirical studies on urban transportation. This paper shows that the underlying structure (i.e. the "genotype") behind the phenotypic manifestation of a habit is essential to grasp for getting a better understanding of the role played by habits in explaining car use. The framework of habitual practices is then put forward in discussing the results. Its rationale is to provide a characterisation of the interconnected elements that make and shape the transportation practices, together with important aspects regarding how they are formed and sustained over time. Adequately picturing both constituent elements as well as dynamic aspects is crucial for explaining the strength of habitual practices and thus car dependence. In doing so, the framework of habitual practices could thus well be of help for policy-makers in reflecting on the design of efficient and innovative interventions for the transition towards more sustainable transportation behaviours.
Document type: Article
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