How do they get by without cars? An analysis of travel characteristics of carless households in California
- 44 Downloads
In spite of their substantial number in the U.S., our understanding of the travel behavior of households who do not own motor vehicles (labeled “carless” herein) is sketchy. The goal of this paper is to start filling this gap for California. We perform parametric and non-parametric tests to analyze trip data from the 2012 California Household Travel Survey (CHTS) after classifying carless households as voluntarily carless, involuntarily carless, or unclassifiable based on a CHTS question that inquires why a carless household does not own any motor vehicle. We find substantial differences between our different categories of carless households. Compared to their voluntarily carless peers, involuntarily carless households travel less frequently, their trips are longer and they take more time, partly because their environment is not as well adapted to their needs. They also walk/bike less, depend more on transit, and when they travel by motor vehicle, occupancy is typically higher. Their median travel time is longer, but remarkably, it is similar for voluntarily carless and motorized households. Overall, involuntarily carless households are less mobile, which may contribute to a more isolated lifestyle with a lower degree of well-being. Compared to motorized households, carless households rely a lot less on motor vehicles and much more on transit, walking, and biking. They also take less than half as many trips and their median trip distance is less than half as short. This study is a first step toward better understanding the transportation patterns of carless households.
KeywordsTravel behavior Carless households Social exclusion California Household Travel Survey
S.K. Mitra and J.-D. Saphores contributed equally to all parts of this manuscript: literature review, statistical analysis, and manuscript writing.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
- American Community Survey (2012–2016): Tenure by vehicles available. Available from https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_16_5YR_DP04&src=pt
- Blumenberg, E., Manville, M.: Beyond the spatial mismatch: welfare recipients and transportation policy. CPL bibliography 19(2), 182–205 (2004)Google Scholar
- Conover, W.J.: Practical Nonparametric Statistics, 3rd edn. Wiley, Hoboken (1999)Google Scholar
- Conover, W.J., Iman, R.L.: On multiple-comparisons procedures. Technical Report LA-7677-MS, Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory (1979)Google Scholar
- Dodson, J., Burke, M., Evans, R., Gleeson, B., Sipe, N.: Travel Behavior Patterns of Different Socially Disadvantaged Groups: analysis of Household Travel Survey Data for a Dispersed Metropolitan Area. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board 2163, 24–31 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Kühne, K., Mitra, S.K., Saphores, J.D.M.: Without a ride in car country a comparison of carless households in Germany and California. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice 109, 24–40 (2018)Google Scholar
- Kim, K.: Can carsharing meet the mobility needs for the low-income neighborhoods? Lessons from carsharing usage patterns in New York City. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice 77, 249–260 (2015)Google Scholar
- Klein, N.J., Smart, M.J.: Car today, gone tomorrow: the ephemeral car in low-income. Immigrant and Minority Families. Transportation 44(3), 495–510 (2017)Google Scholar
- Ramsey, P.H.: Post hoc analysis. In: Salkind, N.J. (ed.) Encyclopedia of research design. Sage Publications Inc., Thousand Oaks (2010)Google Scholar
- Lovejoy, K.: Mobility Fulfilment among Low-Car Households: Implications for Reducing Auto Dependence in the United States. Research report (UCD-ITS-RR-12-27), Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis (2012)Google Scholar
- Marquez, M.: The Travel Behavior of Carless Households: A Case Study for Los Angeles County. Master’s Thesis, University of California, Los Angeles (1980)Google Scholar
- Paaswell, R.E., Recker, W.W.: Problems of the carless. Final report. Analysis of 400 respondents in Buffalo, NY survey. (No. DOT-TST-76-101). State University of New York, Buffalo (USA) (1976). https://www.osti.gov/scitech/biblio/7295651
- Paaswell, R.E., Recker, W.W.: Problems of the Carless. Praeger Publishers, New York (1978)Google Scholar
- Social Exclusion Unit, Office of the UK Deputy Prime Minister: Making the Connections: Final Report on Transport and Social Exclusion. London: Social Exclusion Unit (2003). http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—ed_emp/—emp_policy/—invest/documents/publication/wcms_asist_8210.pdf
- U.S. Census Bureau (2010) https://www.census.gov/geo/reference/urban-rural.html
- U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT): Transportation for a New Generation. Strategic Plan – Fiscal Years 2014-2018 (2013). https://www.transportation.gov/sites/dot.gov/files/docs/2014-2018-strategic-plan_0.pdf