48: Attitude-based targeting of mobility types for mode shift

Dr Adrian Davis

Top line: Identifying differing mobility types can assist in the task of delivering modal shift through selecting and preparing targeted information for the different mobility types.

The transport sector is responsible for a large share of urban air pollution and for nearly a fifth of the GHG emissions from the European Economic Area member countries. The increase in CO2 from transport could threaten the ability of the EU to meet Kyoto targets.1 In the EU’s Sustainable Development Strategy,2 transport is identified as a priority challenge. Sustainable transport options can be made more attractive to the public through soft policy measures, such as public awareness campaigns and marketing for public transport. However, their success depends on targeting different groups.

Building on previous research,3 a study of attitudes towards transport and mobility has identified five different ‘mobility types’.4 The groups differ significantly in their transport choices, distance travelled and the impact their transport choices have on the environment in terms of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The study interviewed 1,991 citizens living in three German cities on their use of and attitudes towards transport.

  • Public transport rejecters – believe public transport provides little sense of control or excitement. They are not open to change and see access by car as very important.
  • Car individualists – Similar to public transport rejecters, but are open to change and consider privacy more important.
  • Weather-resistant cyclists – Positive towards bicycles and will cycle even in bad weather.
  • Eco-sensitised public transport users – Positive towards public transport and are highly influenced by their environmental conscience.
  • Self-determined mobile people – Perform the highest percentage of trips by foot; they do not consider mobility important and are not open to change.

Each group comprises around 20 per cent of the participants surveyed. Unsurprisingly, the public transport rejecters and car individualists produce the largest total GHG emissions from transport use (both public and private), at over 2000kg of CO2 equivalent each per year. The remaining three groups all have total GHG emissions under 1000kg of CO2 equivalent per person per year. Self-determined mobile people have the lowest total GHG emissions from transport use, at just over 500kg of CO2 equivalent per person per year. Young people in single households and two-or-more-person households covered the most distance by car and had the highest GHG emissions. Pensioners had the lowest.

The authors conclude that the five ‘mobility types’ have a strong predictive power for transport choice and associated GHG emissions. This approach has notably proved more predictive of transport choice than geographic or sociodemographic approaches.


1 See www.eea.europa.eu/themes/transport
2 See http://ec.europa.eu/environment/eussd/3 See Essential Evidence No. 2 www.bristol.gov.uk/tpevidencebase
4 Hunecke, M., Haustein, S., BÃhler, S. & Grischkat, S. 2010 Attitude-based Target Groups to Reduce the Ecological Impact of Daily Mobility Behaviour. Environment & Behaviour.:42(1): 3-43.

48: Attitude-based targeting of mobility types for mode shift Download pdf