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Young Families’ Mobility Practices in a car-addicted country – The Case of Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, Germany

Authors: Eric Suder*, RWTH Aachen, Germany
Topics: Transportation Geography, Social Geography, Qualitative Methods
Keywords: mobility, families, social exclusion, mode choice
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Studies on mobility practices of German households found considerable changes: Young adults in Germany use the car less often than previous generations did. However, the car is still the dominant transport mode in the everyday life mobility in Germany. Families use the car more often than any other population groups. This study focuses on the mobility practices of families with young children (<10 years), assuming that there are financial and organizational challenges that might influence the mode choice, limit mobility and thus reduce the possibility of social participation. The study attempts to figure out 1) the main motives for everyday life mobility practices of young families and 2) the main challenges that might lead to social exclusion. Based on 35 qualitative interviews with mothers and fathers of young children in four different cities in the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan area, five groups of factors influencing young families’ everyday mobility practices could be identified: socio-demographic, spatial, trip-based, socio-psychological and transport mode-based factors. Most parents mention numerous challenges (including time-based challenges and the compatibility of family and work as the most important ones). Nevertheless, a lot of families deal with these challenges by increased car use, as they have access to at least one car. However, even in Germany some families face social exclusion. This is true especially for single parent families, families that have restricted financial resources and/or families that do not own a car.

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