Understanding barriers to modal shift in Malta: A practice-theoretical perspective of everyday mobility

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe, ridership - behaviour, ridership - mode choice, policy - environment, policy - sustainable, technology - emissions


Sustainable mobility, Transitions, Social practices, Malta, Decarbonisation, Transport


Transport has become locked into a pattern of unsustainable travel behaviours. One major barrier to limiting carbon dioxide emissions from the transport sector is the dependence of mobility on the car. Modal shift to low-carbon transport is essential to the decarbonisation of transport, yet it has not been fully understood. Analysing travel behaviours from an in-depth understanding of social practices can provide new insights of what might be required for modal shift. The aim of the research is to provide an in-depth analysis of the current mobility practices in Malta, including the elements of mobility practices, how mobility practices are embedded within social life in Malta, and potential future steps. Semi-structured interviews are used to provide qualitative data on everyday mobility practices. The results show how improved infrastructure for active forms of travel, more extensive public transport, skills in cycling, ability to calculate distances when walking, and feeling of safety on the road, are essential elements for low-carbon modes to be performed and endured. The analysis is also valuable to demonstrate how other social practices, such as work, parental responsibilities and shopping, are related to mobility practices and influence recruitment to one form of mobility over another. The coordination between these social practices and the complexities of everyday lives opens new insights for reflection on the type of interventions aimed at decarbonising transport.


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


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