, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 857–872 | Cite as

Interdependencies between turning points in life and long-term mobility decisions

  • Sigrun BeigeEmail author
  • Kay W. Axhausen


Turning points in life include important personal and familial events as well as changes in the places of residence, education and employment. The latter usually involve alterations in the spatial distribution of activities and, hence, in the activity space, thereby also influencing the daily travel behavior. In this context, the ownership of mobility tools, such as cars and different public transport season tickets, also plays an important role, since people commit themselves to particular travel behaviors as they trade large one-time costs for a low marginal cost at the time of usage. At the same time, decisions concerning mobility tool ownership have lasting effects, as have the decisions concerning location choices. A longitudinal perspective on the dynamics of these long-term mobility decisions is available from people’s life courses, which link different dimensions of life together. In order to study these dynamics and the influence of turning points in life, a longitudinal survey covering the 20 year period from 1985 to 2004 was carried out at the beginning of 2005 in a stratified sample of municipalities in the Zurich region, Switzerland. The paper describes the data collection and then presents results which show that there exist strong interdependencies between the various turning points and long-term mobility decisions during the life course, as events occur to a great extent simultaneously. Persons tend to aim for compensation between the different dimensions of life.


Turning points Residential and occupational behavior Mobility tool ownership Life course Retrospective survey 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Transport ResearchGerman Aerospace CenterBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Institute for Transport Planning and SystemsSwiss Federal Institute of TechnologyZurichSwitzerland

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