Towards a Theory of the Dynamics of Household Car Ownership: Insights from a Mobility Biographies Approach

Part of the Studien zur Mobilitäts- und Verkehrsforschung book series (SZMV)


Household car ownership has arguably been one of the most widely studied areas within the field of transport research. Recently, studies in this area have moved to a focus on understanding the dynamic (time varying) nature of household car ownership. The chapter advances the contention that there is often a missing link between the reporting of empirical findings relating to the dynamics of household car ownership, and a critical articulation of theory that both underpins and is developed through the empirical research. The chapter explores how the ‘Mobility Biographies’ approach offers a new opportunity to revisit the relationship between theory and empirical approaches to examining household car ownership and how it changes over the life course. It presents a dynamic conceptual framework that was generated from qualitative accounts of car ownership histories and empirical results from a large-scale panel data set that confirm the strong association between life events and car ownership changes. It concludes with an assessment of the differing longitudinal analytical approaches (both qualitative and quantitative) that may be effectively combined in furthering understanding and developing theory.


Household car ownership Mobility biography Life events Longitudinal Panel data Methodology 


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Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Transport & SocietyUniversity of the West of EnglandBristolUK

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