Climate change and transport choices: segmentation study interim report

Publisher:Department for Transport
Publication type:Research report
Published date: 7 December 2010
Mode/topic:Science and research, Sustainable travel

Foreword by Gillian R Smith, Head of Social Research and Evaluation Division, Department for Transport

Behaviour change is an important component of the Department for Transport aim to reduce transport’s emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, with the desired outcome of avoiding dangerous climate change. 

Social Research and Evaluation (SRE) division has an important role in providing an evidence base to improve the Department’s understanding of public attitudes and behaviours in relation to climate change and the motivators and barriers to more sustainable travel choices. This work has previously included:

  • An evidence base review (Anable et al, 2006) which reviewed the existing evidence and made recommendations for further research.
  • An 18-month deliberative study (King et al, 2009) which explored existing barriers and incentives to behavioural change and explored the impact of providing information (especially scientific information) to members of the public.

The latest study in the Department’s research programme aims to segment the adult (age 16 and over) population of England in terms of both attitudes to climate change and also actual transport behaviours.

This interim report from that study and accompanying dataset present the findings from a robust large-scale survey of the general public which has been conducted to inform the development of the segmentation model. The survey has measured a wide range of issues including:

  • Current transport behaviour, both in terms of general behaviours (car purchasing, ownership and use; use of buses, trains, bicycles and aeroplanes); and in relation to specific journeys including the journey to work; business travel; and food shopping
  • Public attitudes to transport and current transport behaviours, including investigation of the motivations and barriers to use of more sustainable transport alternatives
  • Public attitudes to the environment and climate change, including levels of awareness and understanding.

The interim report from this survey presents an overview of the data which is available; it does not represent a comprehensive analysis.

The Department is therefore publishing the interim report and accompanying survey data ahead of the Final report with the following aims:

  • To provide a robust source of evidence to support the work of local authorities and other external bodies responsible for delivering sustainable transport. 
  • To facilitate and encourage further analysis of the available data by external audiences (including academics) to help further understanding of the barriers and motivators to transport behaviour change, particularly in relation to reducing transport’s emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

The Department plans to publish separately the segmentation model based on the survey data in the final report, which is due to be published in 2011.

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