What’s your mobility attitude?

Is your car the only way you get from A to B – or do you regularly hop on the tube or bus to travel across town? Perhaps cycling or walking is more your cup of tea.

In a 2015 study entitled ‘Towards New Urban Mobility: The case of London and Berlin, a research team at London School of Economics set out to understand how people in two European cities – London and Berlin – actually get around in a daily basis. The dynamic urban centres were specifically chosen for qualities like:

  • Forward-thinking politics and policies
  • Thriving tech and innovation scenes
  • Extensive socio-economic pressures

The combination of these factors makes London and Berlin ‘ahead of the curve’ in mobility – and is precisely what attracted researchers’ attention.

The survey and findings

By surveying 1,000 inhabitants in each city, the team identified patterns in mobility attitudes and behaviour – at an age in which urban areas offer a growing number of new transport opportunities and innovative mobility services.

Ultimately, the team’s research culminated in six mobility attitudes, which are closely linked to people’s mobility behaviour, i.e. the actual modes of transport they use. Without further ado, here are the six mobility attitudes along with their key traits.

©LSE Cities: The six mobility attitude groups

1 Traditional car-oriented

Age: Middle age/higher age

Income: Above average to higher

Travels by: Car, car, car!

Lives: Outskirts of the city

Car ownership rate: Highest

Open to innovative mobility: No


2 Pragmatic transit sceptics

Age: Higher age

Income: Lower

Travels by: Car and public transport

Lives: Across urban centre

Car ownership rate: High

Open to innovative mobility: Slightly (electric cars)


3 Green travel oriented

Age: Middle age/higher age

Income: Lower

Travels by: Foot (low car use)

Lives: Centrally/close to rail stations

Car ownership rate: Low

Open to innovative mobility: No


4 Pragmatic transit-oriented

Age: Middle age

Income: Lower to medium

Travels by: Public transport

Lives: Centrally

Car ownership rate: Low

Open to innovative mobility: Somewhat


5 Technology focused individualists

Age: Younger

Income: Higher

Travels by: Car/public transport; cycling (predominantly Berlin)

Lives: Spread across urban area

Car ownership rate: Higher

Open to innovative mobility: Yes


6 Innovative access-oriented

Age: Younger

Income:Higher

Travels by: Public transport (main); also car/cycling (predominantly Berlin)

Lives: Centrally/in accessible places

Car ownership rate: Lower

Open to innovative mobility: Yes

Dig into the details and it becomes obvious that mobility is in the middle of a big shift. Fewer people are buying cars; more people are looking for alternatives. Book a carsharing vehicle or an ebike, take a short ride on the tube: instead of simply getting behind the wheel like many of their parents did, today’s younger urbanites are seeking out the most suitable mode of transport for a given situation. Whether they are travelling to work, visiting a client, or meeting up with friends. Their decisions are influenced by primarily by factors such as flexibility, costs and environmental concerns. It’s clear why mobility budgets are growing in popularity.

Of course, picking and choosing your transport on a case-by-case basis is feasible in cities like London and Berlin where residents have easy access to alternative modes of transport. However, inhabitants of rural areas clearly have different needs, opportunities and challenges to overcome – a topic we’ll discuss in the future, so be sure to check in again soon.

For those of you city dwellers: what’s your mobility attitude? Tell us in the comments!

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