Behavioral change is a remarkable process, and Bandura’s social and cognitive model is utilized in various research areas, among which one may note education, healthcare, social relations, and media. As noted by Hall, Chai, Koszewski, and Albrecht (2015), the core of using this model in any field is composed of the same steps such as attention, reproduction, retention, and motivation, which are integrated into observational learning.
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Today, the importance of modeling certain positive behaviors is recognized by many scholars and practitioners, who communicate with people on an everyday basis. It is evident that it would be extremely difficult to master all knowledge solely on personal experience without obtaining those of others. By understanding and applying Bandura’s model, it is easier to explain to people the importance of one or another behavior and response to various phenomena.
One of the most significant areas of the research associated with Bandura’s model is education. In nowadays’ rapidly developing world, it is critical that teachers and parents understand the role of observational knowledge and the ways students perceive the very process of learning (Mazur, 2016). By encouraging children to learn better through increasing their self-efficacy and relying on the impact of external reinforcement schemes, educators may apply such concepts as faith, expectations, and instructions. A student consciously perceives positive reinforcement since he or she anticipates its receiving in the case of appropriate behavior.
Devi, Khandelwal, and Das (2017) conducted the study on the application of the given model to a technologically-advanced learning environment with the aim of assessing its contribution. While focusing on students who studied nursing, the authors revealed that modeling as a teaching strategy was effective for them: the promotion of self-efficacy led to setting higher goals and greater dedication to them (Devi et al., 2017). In this connection, when a student wants to replicate some behavior, his or her self-efficiency provides confidence and stronger commitment to achieve the educational goals.
The review of nursing education literature shows that it is widely suggested to utilize self-efficacy as a cognitive variable to affect the processes and eliminate the gap between theoretical knowledge and clinical practice (Hall et al., 2015; Devi et al., 2017). Among the benefits of this model, one may enumerate higher perceived capability, which is critical to provide high-quality care and ensure that nurses are engaged in their work.
Devi et al. (2017) state that better perseverance also inherent in the results of applying Bandura’s model since it empowers students to achieve goals. Behavior modification can be accomplished through indirect reinforcement, monitoring the behaviors of other people and their consequences (Pfitzner-Eden, 2016). In such a way, teachers obtain the ability to predict and evaluate the consequences of what was observed in students. In their turn, the latter receive the opportunity to observe and evaluate behaviors which they had not yet experienced personally.
Not only education of students but also awareness of patients of their health through educational programs may be noted. In particular, today’s environment is marked by a range of chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular issues, the prevention of which is the paramount aim. In their article, Hall et al. (2015) elaborated and analyzed a social-cognitive theory-based survey instrument that was used for 98 fifth-grade students who had problems with weight.
The direct correlation between higher self-efficiency and eating more fruits and vegetables as well as planning meals was revealed. The authors found the link between a stimulus and a reaction along with the one between behavior and reinforcement (Hall et al., 2015). The intermediate mechanism that ensures the adoption of new behaviors is the cognitive processes of the personality. Attention to the external manifestations of abnormality, behaviors, instead of perceived internal conscious or subconscious conflicts was noted as critical. Thus, treatment of symptoms was recognized as the way to address the disorder since the symptom and the disease are considered integral.
In clinical practice, Bandura’s model is also applied to assisting patients in combating with addiction and drug abuse. Heydari, Dashtgard, and Moghadam (2014) focused on quitting addiction in clinics and 80 percent of recurrent cases, which indicates that the therapeutic methods need to be adjusted. The study that included 60 patients divided into two groups, one of which received the traditional treatment and the other was a control one, revealed that Bandura’s model was helpful in quitting addiction.
Self-efficacy scores were considerably higher in the test group, while recurrence rates were minimal among the members of the same group (Heydari et al., 2014). As for quitting, it was 16.7 percent higher in the intervention group, and the interactive dynamic relationship building between the environmental and personal behavior was the basis for such results (Heydari et al., 2014). The authors recommend that addiction quitting clinics should combine pharmaceutical therapy and non-pharmacological interventions to ensure that clients experience stable behavior. This approach may be classified as a wide-spectrum one, with a focus on both the use of drugs and substances and other areas of life that are often functionally related to addiction.
In business and social relations, people are expected to communicate with partners, contributors, and other in interested parties that are involved in a decision-making process. Dispute negotiation is one of the key areas requiring tactics and certain knowledge and skills to resolve a difficult situation. According to Yiu, Cheung, and Siu (2011), who introduced a concept of negotiation-efficacy, the study on the role of confidence in negotiations demonstrated the importance of negotiating tactics. In terms of negotiation-efficacy, distributive tactics was proved to be associated with negative negotiation outcomes, while integrative strategies were more likely to lead to positive results.
In the modern world, images and patterns of behavior replicated by the media have become one of the key sources of socialization. The latter implies the process of a person’s appropriation of social experience existing in society and knowledge of the system of social roles through the formation of personality and self-consciousness. With socialization, an individual has the opportunity to learn social norms, views, stereotypes, and behaviors adopted in one or another society.
As noted by Mazur (2016), Bandura emphasized the role of the media in social learning processes, the assimilation of behavior patterns by the audience, and further imitation of what people observe. For example, the experiments with the Bobo doll proved that children are prone to copying what they saw on the screen.
Based on the experiments of Bandura, one can note that the images of the media, which include both traditional advertising and creative video production using hidden advertising, can teach viewers new types of behavior (Deaton, 2015). Advertising of tobacco companies, for instance, provokes customers around the world to smoke. In their turn, pharmaceutical companies teach consumers different ways to combat diseases and pay attention to prevention. Hidden advertising of cosmetic companies teaches women to take care of their skin using various creams, beginning from body lotions and ending with special care for aging skin.
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Deaton (2015) states that teachers may use the social media to engage students by creating a classroom that will stimulate learning. “In contrast to traditional classroom interaction, social media provides a platform for interaction with a variety of role groups in a low-risk environment” (Deaton, 2015, p. 3). The teachers may integrate the academic and social needs of students and address both of them in the context of applying social media and self-efficacy concept. Thus, the application of modern technologies and the discussed behavioral builds a platform for enhancing learning in a social context.
Public Transportation: Use and Perception
The formation of the public transportation of the city should be carried out in such a way that it does not conflict with the development of the urban system as a whole, which includes transport as one of the subsystems. The development of modern cities is aimed at the advancement of the urban environment, which corresponds to the concept of a livable city that is convenient for life (Daraio et al., 2016).
One of the characteristics of such cities is the ability to move with comfort yet without the need to own a car or use it – the more convenient the city is for cars, the less attractive it is for people. Since public transport plays a significant role in ensuring the mobility of the growing population, it is necessary to increase the intensity of its use compared with the dynamics regarding the use of personal vehicles (Daraio et al., 2016). Quality and perception of public transport are determined by two characteristics: the convenience of the route network and personal (subjective) perception of the quality of services provided.
Determinants of Use of Public Transit: In General and in the UAE
Caused by a quick population growth and building of many areas, a significant increase in mobility demand is expected in the UAE by 2020 – up to 22 million journeys every day. Responding to the need to ensure affordable and safe transport for residents and guests, the Road and Transport Authority (RTA) was launched as an integrated transport management system, the task of which is to raise the segment of public transportation up to 30 percent compared to the contemporary 6 percent.
The convincing plan for increasing the share of public transport involves metro lines (318 km), the opening of 90 new bus routes (2500 km), seven tram lines (270 km), and several water routes (450 km) with an investment of $ 10 billion (“Dubai metro – the world’s longest automated rail system”, 2009). In 2009, the Dubai Metro was opened, after which the Dubai transport system became one of the best among the cities of other Arab countries. However, land transportation is the most popular, including mainly cars and taxis.
Abu Dhabi and Dubai bus services are rather developed compared to other cities of the UAE. A good alternative in the mentioned cities is a fixed-route taxi, which departs as it is filled. In other emirates, public transport runs rarely and out of the schedule. The fact is that the local citizens prefer to drive their own cars, and visitors are more likely to take a taxi. Air-conditioned buses run in Dubai, which are mainly used by visiting workers in the UAE, while bus service is focused on the movement between the main outlets of the city.
The routes that provide passenger traffic, as a rule, connect the centers of activity of the population, the location of which is determined by the characteristics of the city’s economy. The transport network on these routes should comply with the characteristics of the hub-and-spoke system similar to the route network of the United States. It is important for passengers to get from a starting point to every center of activity of the population of at least two approximately equivalent in terms of costs, time, and other factors ways.
There are two aspects of the quality of public transport services as an aggregate of customer perception categories, including expected and perceived ones. The expected quality of the service is determined by a consumer until the moment it is delivered, and the perceived one – during and after the trip, as well as during waiting at the stopping point, and disembarking from the vehicle. In the scholarly literature, there are differences in the definition of customer satisfaction, but they all have some similar elements.
One may single out the three common similar signs: customer satisfaction is the response (emotional or cognitive) to the perceived quality of service; customer response refers to a specific type of service at a given time under the given conditions; and consumer response during service consumption and after its provision. Thus, customer satisfaction consists of three main components, such as an emotional response to the perceived quality of service, a rational assessment of the quality of a given service based on experience and comparison, and the consolidation of the resulting assessment in a customer’s experience.
In the context of the UAE, it is critical to emphasize that 91 percent of commuters – those who use transport to go to work – use cars instead of public transport. In particular, more than 70 percent prefer using personal cars, while approximately 12 percent take a taxi as the most convenient way to reach their workplace (van Leijen, 2015). The recent statistics shows that “car ownership in the UAE stands at 480 per 1,000 people, one of the highest rates in the world” (van Leijen, 2015). Even though the government tries to attract more citizens to using public transit means, the latter accounts only for approximately 14 percent of the total number of journeys across the UAE. The purchase and introduction of new vehicles as well as the building of new roads and railways are targeted by the state.
One of the key factors that impede the use of public transit is its rareness and inconvenient location of stopping points. The interviews with the residents reveal that they identify such issues as difficulties with achieving bus stops and unclear schedules (Hassan, Hawas, & Ahmed, 2013). The detected factor can be interpreted as an indicator describing the satisfaction of passengers with the frequency of buses on the route.
It is obvious that the value of the variable called filling the bus depends on the range of movement of vehicles. The second factor includes comfort both in the bus and in the place where it is waited, which allows interpreting it as passenger satisfaction with comfort and safety on public transport. According to Hassan et al. (2013), the third factor consists of the following components: the professionalism of the bus driver (driving style), speed, and efficiency of the air-conditioning system – all that during transport passengers directly or indirectly affects customers. Passengers also evaluate the location of the handrails when it is necessary to use them, for example, during heavy braking.
In an effort to comprehensively assess the role of public transport systems, the research by Knupfer, Pokotilo, and Woetzel (2018) identified five main groups of factors: physical accessibility, financial affordability, efficiency, convenience, and safety. It should be stressed that the mentioned factors determine customer experiences before, during, and after each trip. The majority of the global population considers private transport as the most convenient and accessible way.
However, in terms of speed, it is noted that due to traffic congestion that is especially critical in large cities, personal vehicles may even be slower than metro or buses driving on a separate line. As for costs, Knupfer et al. (2018) state that the seemingly cost-effective nature of using personal cars also contains such expenses as fuel, insurance, repair, potential fees, and several other issues. In this regard, public transportation is noted as a more attractive way to reach one or another direction. As for safety, the report states that the fact of responsibility in public transport lies on the driver, while the owner should be ready to always be alert and focused on the road.
Public transport problems, as perceived by passengers and car drivers, are quite widespread in modern academic literature. For example, Tirachini (2013) discusses the most significant aspects, such as the effect of variability in travel time, route flow, and time coordination on traffic congestion. The role of automobiles both for the connectedness of the space of a city and streamlining the life activity of an individual in space-time coordinates is given precise attention as well.
In their turn, Chowdhury and Ceder (2016) explore the impact of transport mobility of the population on the ability to meet the needs in urban space, not limited to the microdistrict of their residence. The factors of satisfaction with public transport may include cleanliness of vehicles, frequency, or speed. The needs of users of public transport and its availability for the purpose of optimization are noted. In general, most public transport research data represents fairly large measurements aimed at studying the issue in terms of factors of influence.
The time on the way is considered by passengers and residents in more detail, which is one of the most important factors in organizing and differentiating the daily routes. Among the core factors that increase the length of the journey, Tirachini, Hensher, and Rose (2013) mention that the interviewees noted accidents of various types, including breakdowns of individual cars, traffic congestion. In addition, the time of day and the day of the week are also regarded as important – for example, during lunchtime, there is less traffic on roads, while it is harder to get into transport during the evening (Tirachini et al., 2013). As perceived by commuters, intervals of traffic along with the presence of transfers may play a key role in the selection of transportation means.
In essence, these factors, influencing the length of the journey time, determine the variability and integrity of the everyday ways of the townspeople. The length of travel time affects the physical and emotional state of the passengers, and, as a result, the attractiveness of public transports (Chica-Olmo, Gachs-Sánchez, & Lizarraga, 2018). For example, respondents noted that traveling in traffic congestion, particularly in a standing position, entails physical fatigue at the beginning of the day (Tirachini et al., 2013). During the morning traffic congestion, when everyone is in a hurry to work, study, et cetera, the general nervousness of the passengers of the cabin is especially felt, and the probability of conflict situations tends to increase.
Perception of Public Transit: Role of Individual Characteristics (Income, Gender, Ethnicity, and Education)
The subjective perception of transportation quality is an important determinant of passenger demand for public transportation services. The recent survey conducted by de Oña, de Oña, Eboli, and Mazzulla (2013) took into account such characteristics of respondents as gender, age, availability of travel benefits on public transport, the presence of a personal vehicle, frequency of travel, and income. The study based on the structural equation method provided several essential conclusions.
First of all, passenger satisfaction with the cheapest mode of transport, buses and metro, is lower than with other alternatives. In other words, public transport’s quality was perceived as insufficient regardless of individual characteristics. Second, when income increases, the trend is that people prefer to refuse from public transport services and drive their own cars (de Oña et al., 2013). A similar effect is noted in relation to age: the older a person is, the more he or she is satisfied with public transport. One may hypothesize that the abovementioned tendency is associated with older adults’ unwillingness to consistently control driving and be more relaxed during trips.
Among all the components of quality, the most important for passengers are those, the benefits of which are obvious or easily measurable, including speed, ease of use (Worku, 2013). Abstract criteria such as the potential impact of accidents and so on are less important for respondents from the UAE. However, the geographical distance forms specific consumer requests: they appreciate the opportunity to sit down and are ready to overpay for it, using, for example, a taxi.
The importance of the criterion is amplified when passengers have to travel to longer distances (Worku, 2013). A fare is more important for people with lower incomes, and people with higher income are confident that the use of cars is much more effective for them. As for the technical quality criteria, the most important for consumers are those that describe the time costs of passengers. Thus, minimizing the expected travel time is a top priority for most passengers (Miller, de Barros, Kattan, & Wirasinghe, 2016). Ultimately, the demand for transport services at night – close to the finish of the subway operation – increases supply by public transport and is mainly required by people with low incomes.
The motives for choosing public transport or a personal car turned out to be similar in terms of financial issues: both public transport users and drivers mention lower expenses as an argument (Bajracharya, 2016). The motives of drivers also include greater safety associated with a poor technical condition of public transport and non-compliance by drivers and a sense of control over the situation, comfort, preservation of personal space, freedom of movement and the possibility of self-planning (Cheng & Chen, 2015).
Public transport users focus on the absence of problems related to the maintenance of the car such as repair or parking, the large variability of living time on the road, autonomy from traffic jams in the case of rail transport. Sometimes, the decision not to buy a car is caused by personal reasons: fear of getting behind the wheel, or a busy road. In this connection, it should be stressed that taxis remain the most demanded means of transportation both within a city and between emirates.
The share of cars in urban travel varies depending on the city spatial form, social status of citizens, their income, the quality of public transport services, and parking. Cheng and Chen (2015) claim that public transport is generally utilized by such social groups as students, the older adults, and low-income citizens. There are significant differences in mobility depending on age, income, gender, and health status. For example, in the UAE, residents of the country prefer driving a car, and the visitors that arrived to work, mainly Pakistani and Hindi workers, use public transportation since they cannot allow cars. In other words, the combination of individual factors affects the selection of means of trips.
Emirati women are more likely to take a taxi than travel by bus or metro. Since the UAE is masculine-driven country, and women received the recognition of their rights recently, the fact is that the latter are not fully ready to use public transport. One more factor is the emergence of special female taxi service that is driven only by women and colored in pink (Dunckel-Graglia, 2013). This women-only transportation aims at protecting women’s rights on mobility.
The comfort of a trip on public transport and a personal car is perceived by citizens as a positive aspect. In some respect, the former can be made even more comfortable – primarily because passengers should not drive this transport and, therefore, can read, sleep, listen to music, or just relax (Redman, Friman, Gärling, & Hartig, 2013). In addition, a considerable share of personal transport care falls on the owner, but not on the corresponding transport service worker (Bajracharya, 2016).
However, this is both an advantage as well as a disadvantage. On the one hand, the owner takes care of his or her car, so hypothetically he has less temptation not to clean and provide other necessary care, while the worker takes care of public transport vehicle. On the other hand, the owner should spend additional time to ensure that his or her car is serviceable.
Another perceived advantage of personal transport refers to the required number of actions. When traveling by public transport, a person has to not only wait for it but also to change from one route to another, which is physically and morally tiring (Jain, Aggarwal, Kumar, Singhal, & Sharma, 2014). However, there is also a counter factor: no less and even more is tired of idle in traffic congestions, preparing for the trip, parking, and the very need to drive a car. With good public transport coverage of the whole city, the need for changing routes will compensate for the inconvenience that a private car inevitably delivers (Jain et al., 2014). Finally, there is another issue: some people like cars; they like to drive, own them, and talk about them.
Since the UAE attracts many visitors for business and leisure purposes, the perceptions of tourists and business guests also seem to be relevant. As it was already mentioned, non-residents of the country are more likely to select public transport means, even though some of them prefer a taxi. According to Parahoo, Harvey, and Radi (2014), public transport is perceived by this category of passengers positively as it allows viewing the cities and enjoying the experience.
For instance, “the metro, by the fact that it runs on elevated platforms in certain parts of Dubai, may enhance the experience of tourists by providing a pleasant bird eye’s view of different parts of the city” (Parahoo et al., 2014, p. 1006). Thus, it is essential to point out the fact that the perceived value of public transport impacts tourists’ behaviors, and they tend to be more loyal to the local system of transits.
The UAE’s entrance to the global market and its active participation in the worldwide events such as EXPO 2020 and others dictate new requirements for transport services (Henderson, 2014). In Abu Dhabi, for example, there are a lot of expatriates and blue-collar workers, who need appropriate and timely transit means (Qamhaieh & Chakravarty, 2017). The existing perceptions regarding the use of public transport do not allow increasing its share, which impedes the process of social inclusion of the mentioned populations. Therefore, it is possible to state that a more elaborate system of buses and metro is needed based on availability for all people. Namely, the key perceived valuable points include ease of access, adequate cost, and timely trips.
In general, it is considered that public transport significantly improves the quality of life in urban areas, providing safe, efficient, and economical passenger services. As stated by Galal Ahmed (2013), it serves both the personal interests of individual citizens and the collective interests of the whole population of the UAE, increasing opportunities and ensuring mobility. Public transport corridors are natural focal points for the population of the city to provide economic and social efficiency of life and contribute to the creation of strong regional centers that are economically stable, safe, and productive (Narayanaswami, 2017).
When passengers use public transport to travel, their contact with others becomes closer and communicative, and dependence on cars is reduced, which contributes to an increase in the level of physical activity.
In economic terms, public transport provides savings in public costs, including current and one-time. According to estimates of de Gruyter, Currie, and Rose (2016), investments in public transport projects bring an advantageous economic effect, both in long- and short-term periods. This type of transport revives living areas, increases social interaction, pedestrian activity, safety, and also helps to create a feeling of comfortable living conditions.
It is expected that by 2025, 20 percent of the population of developed cities will be over 65 years old, and many will not be able to drive private cars, which is an additional driver of growth of public transport services (Galal Ahmed, 2013). Such is the position of the state towards promoting greater use of public transport with the aim of improving the overall infrastructure, availability of business centers, and reduction of traffic congestions.
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