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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Why Do People Drive to Shop? Future Travel and Telecommunications Tradeoffs


In this study we look at the relationship between shopping and travel trips, especially by car, and ask whether the travel trip has intrinsic value and/or costs for shoppers.

The plan of this paper is as follows: First we establish a baseline about shopping travel, based on recent travel statistics. We then seek, through the transportation and marketing literatures, different approaches to the question of why people travel to stores. This leads us to pose specific hypotheses about shopping-related trips which we then test using activity-based demand modeling. The final sections discuss our results and conclusions. They suggest that the behaviors associated with the adoption of electronic home shopping are complex, and that it is naive to view home shopping as just another channel. Home shopping will not evolve independently of other changes in work, daily routines, and leisure time use.

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