Examining the relationship between life transitions and travel behaviour change: new insights from the UK Household Longitudinal Study

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Conference Paper


Ben Clark, Kiron Chatterjee, Steve Melia, Gundi Knies and Heather Laurie

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Series Number



Recent research has indicated that changes in travel behaviour are more likely at the time ofmajor life events. However, there remains much to learn about the extent to which differentlife events trigger behavioural change and the conditions under which life events are morelikely to trigger change. The UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS) offers a previouslyunavailable opportunity to investigate this for a large, representative sample of the UKpopulation. We have also linked UKHLS data to local spatial data, drawn from the censusand other sources, to elucidate the effect of the spatial context on changes to travelbehaviour in association with life events. Findings from an exploratory analysis of UKHLSwaves 1 and 2 data are presented first. Transition tables demonstrate a strong associationbetween changes in car ownership and commute mode and the following life events:employment changes, residential relocations, retirement, child birth and changes inhousehold structure. Results are then shown of logit models which relate the probability ofan increase and decrease in the number of cars owned to the occurrence of life events,controlling for individual and household characteristics and spatial context. These show, forexample, that urbanizing and ruralizing moves have contrasting effects on travel behaviour.


Life Course Analysis, Commuting and Travel