What Drives Car Use? A Grounded Theory Analysis of Commuters' Reasons for Driving

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

infrastructure - vehicle, planning - travel demand management, planning - travel demand management, ridership - mode choice, ridership - commuting, ridership - demand, organisation - management, mode - car


Work trips, Vehicle navigation, Vehicle handling, Trip reduction, Travel time, Travel demand management, Travel costs, Transportation policy, Transportation demand management, TDM measures, Motor vehicle handling, Mode choice, Modal choice, Journey to work, Journey time, Interviewing, Human factors, England, Driving, Commuters, Choice of transportation, Automobile use, Automobile usage, Automobile travel


A grounded theory analysis of reasons for driving to work was undertaken following semi-structured interviews with 19 regular private car commuters in a small English city. Five core motives were identified: journey time concerns; journey-based affect; effort minimisation; personal space concerns; and monetary costs. An underlying desire for control underpinned many of these motives. The analysis revealed misconceptions regarding journey times and control in relation to car and public transport use, systematic underestimation of car-related monetary costs, and the importance of self- and identity-relevant consequences in relation to transport policy acceptance. Drivers' motives and misconceptions are discussed in light of transport demand management policies.


Transportation Research Part F Home Page: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/13698478