Urban travel behaviour and household income in times of economic crisis: Challenges and perspectives for sustainable mobility

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe, place - urban, ridership - behaviour, ridership - mode choice, policy - sustainable, planning - surveys


Economic crisis, Urban transport, Travel behaviour, Sustainable mobility, Household income, Greece


This article investigates the type and quality of changes in the mobility behaviour caused by the persistent economic and social shock in Greece manifested in 2010 onwards with regard to household income. A trip survey was conducted in 2014 to explore the impacts of the economic crisis on the trip characteristics between the city centre and the greater area of Thessaloniki, the second largest city of Greece. The sample consisted of 853 randomly selected users of the city centre and is representative of the sex and age distribution of the overall population of the urban agglomeration. Aiming to minimise their expenses, the individuals have reduced the trip frequency by private car, notably for optional trip purposes like shopping and entertainment, or they have shifted to public transport, motorbike, walking and cycling for downtown trips. In some cases, this reduction in expenses led to household relocation. These changes were more evident in the lowest income groups. In general, the effects of the economic crisis are proving more effective in limiting car use compared to any sustainable mobility measure that has been implemented in the past. However, households, despite their income, appeared mostly uncertain to preserve any sustainable mobility behaviour. In fact, their decision seems to depend on the future economic conditions.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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