Title

Gender and the Automobile: Analysis of Nonwork Service Trips

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

2007

Subject Area

ridership - commuting, ridership - demand

Keywords

Trip purpose, Trip length, Travel models (Travel demand), Travel distance, Travel demand, Socioeconomic factors, Socioeconomic aspects, Nonwork trips, Nonwork travel, Germany, Gender, Econometric models, Automobile use, Automobile usage, Automobile travel, Automobile ownership

Abstract

With a focus on individual motorists in car-owning households in Germany, this analysis econometrically investigates the determinants of automobile travel for nonwork service activities against the backdrop of two questions: (a) Does gender play a role in determining the probability of car use and the distance driven? and (b) If so, how is this role mitigated or exacerbated by other socioeconomic attributes of the individual and the household in which he or she resides? Drawing on a panel of data collected between 1996 and 2003, Heckman’s sample selection model is specified to control for biases that otherwise could arise from the existence of unobservable variables that determine both the discrete and the continuous choices pertaining to car use. The results indicate that although women, on average, undertake more nonwork travel than men, they undertake less such travel by car, implying a greater reliance on other modes. Moreover, employment status, age, the number of children, automobile availability, and the proximity to public transit are all found to have significantly different effects on the probability of nonwork car travel between men and women but—with the exception of automobile availability—not on the distance driven. Taken together, these results suggest that policies targeted at reducing automobile dependency and associated negative externalities, such as congestion, are unlikely to have uniform effects across the sexes. These findings have implications for both policy evaluation and travel demand forecasting.