Page last updated at 12:22 GMT, Saturday, 20 December 2008

Drivers either Homer or Mr Spock

Mr Spock and Homer Simpson
Which one are you?

There are two types of travellers characterised by TV's Homer Simpson and Mr Spock, a study suggests.

Professor Glenn Lyons, of the University of the West of England (UWE), in Bristol, says we make our travelling decisions along two lines.

Mr Spock types will use every source of information available to make an informed and economical choice of how to get from A to B.

While the Homers have a much more laid back approach to journeys.

Those who approach travelling like the alien scientist Mr Spock, star of TV series Star Trek, will use websites, ticket hotlines and offers to decide how to strike the best balance between journey cost, time and hassle.

However, Homer Simpson, the boorish father in the cult TV show The Simpsons, accepts congestion as a fact of life and gets on with it, turning attention instead to making the trip as enjoyable as possible.

Archetypal characters

The research concluded the transport industry focused on these two different types of travellers.

Homer Simpson, on the other hand, thinks that making trips is no big deal
Prof Lyons

It found some areas of the industry tackled congestion by providing advice and information for the Mr Spocks, while other sectors exploited the congestion to invent increasingly sophisticated in-vehicle products and services to help the Homer Simpsons pass the time.

The research was commissioned by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Technology Strategy Board.

Professor Lyons, director of the transport research society at UWE, said the two characters illustrated the range of individual behaviour among the travelling public.

"Mr Spock is the archetype of logic - he wants to be in possession of all the facts so he can make the best possible decisions when taking a trip," he said.

"Homer Simpson, on the other hand, thinks that making trips is no big deal. As long as things work out he has many other things on his mind besides 'optimising' his travel.

"Research shows that an individual's travel choices are bound up with many factors including their personality, habits, family structure and social networks."

Print Sponsor

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific