Mental maps and travel behaviour: Meanings and models

E. Hannes, Diana Kusumastuti, M.L. Espinosa, D. Janssens, K. Vanhoof, G. Wets

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, the “mental map” concept is positioned with regard to individual travel behaviour to start with. Based on Ogden and Richards’ triangle of meaning (The meaning of meaning: a study of the influence of language upon thought and of the science of symbolism. International library of psychology, philosophy and scientific method. Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1966) distinct thoughts, referents and symbols originating from different scientific disciplines are identified and explained in order to clear up the notion’s fuzziness. Next, the use of this concept in two major areas of research relevant to travel demand modelling is indicated and discussed in detail: spatial cognition and decision-making. The relevance of these constructs to understand and model individual travel behaviour is explained and current research efforts to implement these concepts in travel demand models are addressed. Furthermore, these mental map notions are specified in two types of computational models, i.e. a Bayesian Inference Network (BIN) and a Fuzzy Cognitive Map (FCM). Both models are explained, and a numerical and a real-life example are provided. Both approaches yield a detailed quantitative representation of the mental map of decision-making problems in travel behaviour
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-165
JournalJournal of geographical systems
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • IR-89712
  • METIS-301937

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