Stockholmarnas resvanor – mellan trängselskatt och klimatdebatt
Sammanfattning: This thesis examines the concept of travel habits, public responses to large-scale traffic congestion regulations and how travel patterns of urban dwellers can be made environmentally sustainable in the long term. It also examines the interrelationships of different scientific disciplines dealing with urban travel. The main conclusions relate to the scientific concept of habit. This concept and the associated behaviours are not well-studied in the social and cultural sciences. Indeed, in some contexts the concept is bereft of meaning, e.g. when the notion of travel habits is used to represent the travel patterns of an entire population. This study demonstrated the (traffic and environmental policy) significance of non-habitual travel, but also showed habitual travel to have inherent resistance to change, i.e. with habits acting as a buffer between experience and response. Case studies revealed travel habits to be a cultural phenomenon, since acceptable travel habits are expressed in a restricted local and social context. People develop their (travel) habits in mutual and only partly conscious interactions with each other and their material surroundings. The case studies also showed how changes occurring during critical points in the course of a life (primarily as regards housing, employment and household composition) brought about particularly clear changes in individual travel habits. Stability and sustainability in urban travel patterns could be achieved through the promotion and gradual spread (geographical, between age classes, etc.) of certain types of travel habits that are already in use at the individual level. Thus habits should be regarded less as an obstacle and more as an opportunity for sustainable development. A case study of the Stockholm congestion charge trial showed wide variation and ingenuity in how Stockholmers dealt with this new feature of their daily lives. For example, many stopped many stopped driving into the charging zone in order to demonstrate, to themselves and others, their disagreement with the charge and the political circumstances surrounding its introduction. Interestingly (and paradoxically), this probably contributed to the overall major reduction in traffic, perceived at a societal level as evidence of the success of congestion charging. However, regarding the scope for sustainable development of urban travel, the conclusion from this appraisal of the Stockholm trial was that environmental, congestion-reducing and possibly traffic-controlling political measures appear to be in public demand. Efforts in this thesis to interrelate the scientific perspectives of the different disciplines studying the various levels of urban travel (e.g. sociology, human geography and ethnology in relation to transport economics and psychology) indicated that further collaboration is required. As with the concept of travel habits, there are numerous concepts that could benefit from being developed and tested through interdisciplinary collaboration.
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