, Volume 39, Issue 6, pp 1189–1207 | Cite as

Well-being and activity-based models

  • Maya Abou-Zeid
  • Moshe Ben-Akiva


We present empirical and theoretical analyses to investigate the relationship between happiness (or subjective well-being) and activity participation and develop a framework for using well-being data to enhance activity-based travel demand models. The overriding hypothesis is that activities are planned and undertaken to satisfy needs so as to maintain or enhance subjective well-being. The empirical analysis consists of the development of a structural equations exploratory model of activity participation and happiness using data from a cross-sectional survey of a sample of commuters. The model reveals significant correlations between happiness and behavior for different types of activities: higher propensity of activity participation is associated with greater activity happiness and greater satisfaction with travel to the activity. The theoretical analysis consists of the development of a modeling framework and measures for the incorporation of well-being within activity-based travel demand models. The motivation is that activity pattern models have been specified in ad-hoc ways in practice as a function of mobility, lifestyle, and accessibility variables. We postulate that well-being is the ultimate goal of activity patterns which are driven by needs and propose two extensions of activity pattern models. The first extension consists of the use of well-being measures as indicators of the utility of activity patterns (in addition to the usual choice indicators) within a random utility modeling framework. The second extension models conceptually the behavioral process of activity generation based on needs satisfaction. We present an example of an operational activity pattern model and propose well-being measures for enhancing it.


Activity-based models Activity-schedule approach Happiness Subjective well-being Random utility models 



This research was supported by a grant from the University Transportation Center of New England while the first author was at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The authors are grateful to Erik Sabina and Suzanne Childress from the Denver Regional Council of Governments for sharing their activity-based model reports and for extending their survey to accommodate our research needs, Varun Pattabhiraman for his assistance in processing the survey data, and three anonymous reviewers for their valuable suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringAmerican University of BeirutRiad El-Solh/BeirutLebanon
  2. 2.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

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