عنوان مقاله [English]
The interaction between urban space and individual behavior has led to essential social, economic and environmental consequences. Spatial behaviour which is contained by individuals’ activity in geographical space, is enforced by understanding the urban environment. In fact, individuals for shaping their behaviour need some knowledge of the urban environment, including opportunities available and the means to reach them. Thus, the variation in spatial knowledge can result in personal attitudes, travel behaviour and especially modal choice. Cognitive maps can be defined as mental images and concepts that are built to visualize and assimilate information. They are also referred to as mental maps, mind maps, schemata, and frames of reference. They act as tools for strategists to move beyond the constraints of short-term memory and to process information. Generally, spatial experience is one of the most important components in individuals’ spatial knowledge of the environment. With regarding the fact that a high amount of individuals’ experience is formed through travelling within the urban environments, it can be suggested that the slower the travel is the more direct interaction with the environment will take place which leads to the increase of spatial knowledge level. The variations in spatial knowledge can result in radically different levels of effective accessibility, despite similar locations, demographics and other factors commonly thought to influence travel behaviour. Since intra urban travel has a significant role in shaping the cognitive maps, this paper examines whether differences in cognitive maps can be explained, in part, by variation in travel mode. For this purpose, the Imam Reza International College of Foreign Languages was selected as the place where questionnaire sheet should be filled out. This College was selected because it is located within the central zone of Mashhad and it is well known from different directions for the students of the college towards central Mashhad. It is also accessible by different modes of transport and students can reach it using ten different bus lines and Light Rapid Transit (LRT). In this way, the students and teachers of this college were considered as the statistical population and 100 students and teachers were randomly selected as the sample to fill the designed questionnaire out. The questionnaire sheet encompasses information about individuals’ socioeconomic status, the quality of spatial knowledge and the mode of transportation. For analyzing data, the descriptive and inferential statistical methods and cognitive map’s analysis were used. Different indices were applied for analyzing individuals’ travel pattern. The first index was accessibility to car. The second index showed travel patterns which were divided into car drivers who were engaged in moving directly and passive drivers who were engaged indirectly. The third one was cognitive travel pattern. This index showed individuals’ travel patterns which were associated with the quality they were travelling. For example, driving a car and walking are considered as active moving and travelling by bus and taxi are regarded as passive ones and finally, mixed travel movers are those who use a mix of active and passive modes of transport. The analysis of data showed a positive direct correlation between the record of residence in a neighborhood and the level of spatial knowledge. The older the age, the higher was the level of spatial knowledge. The analysis of estimating the distance to a specific destination suggested that those who were directly engaged directly in travelling – such as car drivers, cyclists and pedestrians- were better able to estimate the distance than those who were engaged indirectly – such as car or bus passengers. In other words, the more individuals’ modes of transportation were active, the higher their level of spatial knowledge was. It can be concluded that those who had their travel pattern more active, showed better understanding of the environment and higher level of spatial knowledge. For example, those who travelled using public transportation (included bus and LRT) had better response when were asked to present their cognitive maps. However, those who used active modes of travel included cycling and walking showed better practice by presenting more detailed cognitive maps. As a result, it can be said that the patterns of urban travel affect individuals’ spatial knowledge and understanding. It means that the level of spatial knowledge of active travellers is higher than those of passive trip-makers. Thus, with understanding the role of travel pattern on citizens’ cognitive maps, it is preferred to facilitate non-motorized transportation which is considered as active modes and make individuals more familiar with the environment. It is also recommended to create legible, pleasant and clear signs in order to strengthen individuals’ identity and their sense of place attachment. To sum up it can be declared that variation in spatial knowledge and cognitive maps are significantly caused by the variation in individuals’ transportation modes.