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Segmentation for Transport in Markets Using Latent User Psychological Structures

European Union
Complete with results
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Network and traffic management systems (NTM)
Smart mobility and services (SMO)
Transport mode
Road icon
Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues


Background & Policy context

When promoting and designing a transport project, industry and authorities

at every level (from local to European) need to gain acceptance from

different groups of citizens affected by the project. Conventional

segmentations of these stakeholders, often taken from statistical

databanks, are usually not effective in behavioural terms - in other

words, they do not adequately reflect attitudes and motivations in favour

or against a particular decision. Yet it is vital to understand acceptance

issues across different types of users (pedestrians, cyclists, drivers,

passengers etc) and different types of social, economic and environmental

sensitivities, if authorities are to gain acceptance for new transport



STIMULUS aimed at improving ways of structuring the behavioural responses of different stakeholders to transport measures.


Specific objectives were to

  • (re-)classify users into new categories or segments according to underlying psychological processes, and cross-tabulate these with known demographic and user types;
  • identify the interests, attitudes, motivations and behaviour of user groups (both the newly-defined categories and conventional categories) towards information and traffic management measures, as well as mobility restrictions and environmental costs;
  • assess information systems and policies for their level of acceptance or rejection by different user groups.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
European Commission; Directorate-General for Energy and Transport (DG TREN; formerly DG VII)
Type of funding
Public (EU)


Particular types of users have been classified within a new set of distinct market segments, and their interests and attitudes described. STIMULUS found that the most acceptable traffic management measures are likely to be speed cameras, bus lanes and restrictions on freight delivery times. The least popular measure is parking pricing. The car is the most attractive mode, with the train as second choice. Congestion and air pollution are the most recognised problems related to transport.


On the basis of the research database developed in the project, STIMULUS has demonstrated that attitudinal and latent psychological structure segmentation leads to better understanding and prediction of the target audience than behavioural segmentation. This involves the identification of natural groupings of people with a particular psychological outlook on the world.


For example, segments such as car users and public transport users have traditionally been regarded as different target audiences with different preferences and requiring different communication campaigns. However, surveys showed that very few differences exist between these groups.


STIMULUS has provided PC-based software that analyses databases in four ways:

  • lifestyle and demographics;
  • attitudes towards variables such as transport mode, policy measure and transport user;
  • importance of different issues;
  • latent psychological structures common to groups or segments of the population.

Policy implications

Being mainly the development and validation of a tool, STIMULUS in itself

has an impact on the possible evolution of the decision making processes

in the application of policies. Having been developed and demonstrated for

transport information systems, this tool is ready to be extended to

different elements of the transport sector and is capable of being applied

to other markets rather than just transport.


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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