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Research field Travel Behaviour and Mobility

The travel demand of individuals and households has considerably changed over the last dcades. This is true for household motorisation and travel mode use as well as for travel distances, activity spaces and travel time structures. Only in the context of social change and changes in the built environments in our society as well as in other Western societies may these changes be adequatly interpreted.

Changes in spatial structure and the built environment: Suburbanisation and the regional deconcentration of private households and firms, as well as other trends in residential and firm location behaviour, are mutually intertwined with transport development. At the same time, the ubiquitous extension of transport and telecommunication networks leads to an acceleration of spatial interaction and increased accessibility, and thus contributes to traffic growth and larger-scale functional integration

These interrelations are even more complex as they seem to be on first glance, as households tend to select themselves into specific residential environments, based on their subjective residential, travel and accessibility preferences ('residential self-selection'). Our contributions to the research field 'Transport and the built environment' include the whole field of changes in spatial structures, as well as the recent debate on the self-selectivity of residential location choice. We set this into context with the structure of transport, mobility and accessibility.

Social change: Societal trends are in many ways closely linked to transport trends. Demographic ageing and migration alter the requirements for public transport, car transport, and residential environments. Changes in gender relations lead to shifts in inner-household task sharing and activity patterns. Value change and the pluralisation of lifestyles change our mobility needs and attitudes towards residential neighbourhoods. The polarisation of society with respect to economic ressources and chances for participation, the structural changes in the labour markets, the flexibilisation of time structures, and the increase in the number of multi-local households are some more spotlights of social change. All these changes may be associated with altered trip-making, trip distributions and spatial mobility in general.

Our research field 'Travel Behaviour and Mobility' does not merely focus on travel behaviour. We include residential mobility as a second basic form of spatial mobility, and study it in the context of spatial and social structures and trends. We set an emphasis on the micro level of households and individuals, as embedded in economic, political, or technological conditions on the macro level.

Our research projects in the research field travel behaviour and mobility are mostly relatively large cooperative schemes in national and international contexts, as well as individual projects which are funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), for instance. Our projects are theoretically embedded in the international state of the research. Methodologically they are based on a broad spectrum of quantitative and qualitative methods. For some research topics we use secondary data for analysis (such as 'Mobility in Germany', the German Mobility Panel, Socio-Economic Panel, employment statistics register etc.), while other questions require primary data we collect in our own (mostly regional) surveys. We closely cooperate with the research field "Integrated settlement and transport planning".

Research projects at this rearch field:

  • Long-Distance Society (since 2018)

  • Gender, commuting and activity patterns (since 2017)

  • Schülerwege Lünen: Transport infrastructure, urban structure and the trip to school - a case study of Luenen (NRW) (since 2017)

  • Key Events: Travel Behaviour Changes over the Life Course:The Role of Biographical and Accessibility-Related Key Events (since 2015)

  • Mobility Biographies: A Life-Course Approach to Travel Behaviour and Residential Choice (2012-2017)

  • AllFern: Daily and long-distance travel in Germany - social and spatial correlates (2012-2017)

  • Commutes: Spatial Accessibility and the Dynamics of Commuting in Germany and Switzerland 1970 to 2005 (2008-2011)

  • Wohnstandortinfo: Integrated residential location information as a contribution to reduce land consumption (2006-2010)

  • Residential location : Choice of residential location, the built environment and transport in the context of lifestyle and life situation(2006 - 2008)

  • StadtLeben: Integrated approach to lifestyles, residential milieux, space and time for a sustainable concept of mobility and cities(2001-2005)

  • FRAME: Leisure travel of senior citizens: Conditions, forms and decisions (2000-2003)

  • Gender and Travel : Everyday life in the context of changing gender relations: activities, trips, travel modes and time use (2009-2011)

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Prof. Dr. Joachim Scheiner
Associate Professor
Tel.: 0231 755-4822


Research Projects: