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Title: Understanding citizens' acceptance of smart transportation mobile applications : a mixed methods study in Shenzhen, China
Author: Du, Meichengzi
ISNI:       0000 0004 7970 2573
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2019
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Cities all over the world have invested in and implemented smart city technologies, and governments have shown huge interest in developing these technologies. Smart cities use innovative information and communication technologies (ICT). Their purpose is to provide more efficient and convenient services in different city areas as well as real-time information to enable a smarter living environment. Smart transportation as one of the 'hottest' smart city domains, such technologies are representatively delivered through mobile applications to citizens. Citizens are playing an increasingly important role in the development and implementation of smart city technology. Consequently, there is a need for research about what factors influence citizens to accept smart technology, as well as about their perception of the benefits from extensively adopting this technology. Although a lot is known about the acceptance of information systems and services within a range of organisational and consumer contexts, little is known about acceptance, or the factors and conditions that influence acceptance within the context of smart cities. This study aims to close that research gap. The Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology 2 (UTAUT2) was chosen as the basic model to understand citizen acceptance. By integrating the substantial literature on user acceptance in different research contexts within a consideration of the implementation of smart transportation, this research aims to identify the influential factors that affect citizen acceptance of smart transportation mobile applications (STMAs) in China from both service providers' and citizens' perspectives. A sequential embedded mixed methods case study approach was adopted. This comprised a two-phased study: a preliminary qualitative study was followed by a quantitative study. The mixed methods approach enabled the researcher to gain in-depth insights, and particularly to explore the perspectives of both service providers and citizens on the influential factors of STMA acceptance in order to compare the similarities and differences of the results between these two groups. In the first qualitative phase, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 officers involved in the processes of a governmental smart transportation project in Shenzhen, China. This phase investigated service providers' perceptions of facilitating citizens to accept and use a STMA. The interview data was analysed by the thematic analysis method through applying categories from an extended UTAUT2 framework. The second phase (quantitative study) used an online survey to test the factors involved in the theoretical framework of acceptance established from the literature review and the preliminary qualitative study. The proposed model was validated by analysing 621 questionnaires completed by actual users of the STMAs. The data analysis adopted the structural equation modelling (SEM) method. The qualitative study found that the service providers did not have a good understanding of acceptance, and that they did not focus enough on how to improve citizens' acceptance of the STMA. The activities conducted to facilitate citizen acceptance of the services were mainly based on service providers' experience and perceptions. The findings indicated that project management issues were likely to influence the service providers to deliver activities to support citizens in accepting the mobile applications. This was considered as a contextual factor to extend the framework. The findings also extended and modified the constructs to make the proposed factors more grounded in the smart transportation context. The results generated new factors, namely familiarity with issues and utility data. Based on the qualitative findings, the proposed framework was modified in preparation for the quantitative research phase. The quantitative findings suggest that citizens' perception of factors influencing their acceptance were both similar to and different from the service providers' perceptions. For example, network externalities, habit, trust, smart city environment and effort expectancy significantly and positively influenced citizens' intention to use such technologies. The findings also clarified the effects of a set of moderators on the behavioural intention to use a STMA. The study contributes to our knowledge on technology acceptance in STMAs in a Chinese context. The study indicates that the UTAUT2 partially explains STMA acceptance. However, the most important factors were partly the new factors identified to extend the baseline UTAUT2 model, as well as the contextual factors particular to the smart transportation context. Additionally, practical recommendations are suggested to help the service providers to design appropriate marketing strategies and deliver corresponding activities based on the identified factors in China. Finally, this study opens up opportunities for future research to other domains of smart city technologies.
Supervisor: Foster, Jonathan ; Pinfield, Stephen Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available