Explaining Trends in Car Use

Sammanfattning: Many western countries have seen a plateau and subsequent decline in car travel during the early 21st century. What has generated particular interest and debate is the claim that the development cannot only be explained by changes in traditional explanatory factors such as GDP, fuel prices and land-use. Instead, it has been argued, the observed trends are indications of substantial changes in lifestyles, preferences and attitudes to car travel and thus, not just a temporary plateau but a true peak in car use.This thesis is a compilation of five papers, studying the issue on a national, international, regional and city scale through quantitative analysis of aggregate administrative data and individual travel survey data. It concludes that the aggregate development of car travel per capita can be explained fairly well with the traditional model variables GDP and fuel price. Furthermore, this thesis shows that spatial context and policy become increasingly important in car use trends: car use diverges over time between city, suburban and rural residents of Sweden and other European countries, while gender and to some extent income become less differentiating for car use.