Grad. Students Feature Stories

Who is the Boss of the Household?



The topic of my thesis is “the links among the built environment, travel attitudes, and travel behavior: a household-based perspective”. In this research, I aim to explore the decision mechanism of the household couples in location and travel choices. Based on the household travel survey data in Beijing, 2016, and a series of multivariate analyses, findings have been made to reveal that the couples do play different roles in household decisions. Specifically, the husband’s travel attitudes matter more in long-term choices like residential location and car ownership, while the wife dominates short-term decisions such as daily travel in urban China. In addition, the husband tends to adjust his travel behavior to suit the wife’s travel pattern, but not the other way around.


Apart from providing a new (household) perspective to future academic research on the built environment and travel behavior, this thesis also has important policy implications for future urban and transport planning. In particular, urban planners should better take the household rather than the individual as the audience of land use and transport-related policies. Travel is a way to meet personal needs in daily life, and thus improved wellbeing should be the ultimate policy goal in transport. In future works, I will extend the current research framework by including social equity and travelers’ subjective wellbeing in the analysis. I will soon join Utrecht University in the Netherlands as a Post-doctoral Research Fellow to continue researching this important agenda.



Dr. GUAN Xiaodong

Graduate of the PhD programme of the Department of Geography. Currently a Post-doctoral Research Fellow at Hong Kong Baptist University.