A Portrait of Zero-Car and Car-Owning Household Mobility Trends in the United States: Insights from the 2009 and 2017 National Household Travel Survey
Gabriella Abou-Zeid, Portland State UniversityShow Abstract
Michael McQueen, Portland State University
Anaisabel Crespo-Leiva, Portland State University
Kelly Clifton, Portland State University
The mobility of zero-car households is substantially constrained compared to their car-owning counterparts, especially given that zero-car households are disproportionately low-income. Households that lack access to vehicles due to economic constraints exhibit an increased dependence on active and transit modes. There is early evidence that demonstrates how new modes of shared mobility, like ridehailing services, may increase automobile access for these households. However, the effect of these new modes on mobility of zero-car households on a nationwide scale compared to other modes is still unclear. In order to promote policies that increase mobility for zero-car households in the context of shared mobility, climate change, and increased multimodality, a more in-depth understanding of their recent travel behavior is crucial. This paper investigates trends and characteristics of mobility in zero-car households versus car-owning households. Use of the 2009 and 2017 National Household Travel Survey (NHTS) captures the impact of rising shared mobility modes, growing transit infrastructure, and economic recovery. Our findings indicate that, although person miles traveled (PMT) is increasing across both car-ownership and income categories, there still exists a mobility gap between zero-car households and car-owning households, and between zero-car households across income groups. Car-owning households earning >= $75,000 annually make over nine times the PMT and approximately three times number of trips of zero-car households earning <= $14,000. Further, we find less affluent zero-car households may be subject to displacement, further constraining their mobility.
“Un-separating” Church and Travel?: Religious Culture and Rural Car Ownership
Gregory Newmark, Kansas State UniversityShow Abstract
Emma Rearick, Kansas State University
Transportation practice generally restricts the predictors of travel behavior to socio-economic variables without consideration of cultural factors. However, culture – the ideas, norms, and objects that a society shares – affects consumption decisions. The research presented here examines whether including cultural factors can improve models of travel by testing the impact of religious affiliation on motorization rates in the United States. Publicly-collected socio-economic information is merged with privately-collected religious-affiliation information in a reduced and full regression model experimental design. A statistical comparison of the full and reduced models finds that incorporating religious affiliation reduces variability in modeling motorization. In other words, augmenting models with cultural components can yield better predictions of travel behavior. This finding suggests the value of considering culture both in the prediction of travel and in the tailoring of the resultant policy prescriptions.
“Desperately in Need of a Car”: Analyzing Crowdfunding Campaigns for Car Purchases and Repairs on Gofundme.com
Nicholas Klein, Cornell UniversityShow Abstract
Minh Tran, Cornell University
Sarah Riley, Cornell University
Our study explores the phenomenon of using the crowdfunding website GoFundMe.com to raise money to purchase and or repair a personal vehicle. We use both text mining and qualitative analysis methods to ask three research question about GoFundMe campaigns from the United States created in 2018 and 2019. What are the characteristics of financial appeals to purchase or repair personal vehicles on GoFundMe? How do campaigns position the requests for financial assistance? How do campaigns explain the need for personal vehicles? We find that many campaigns describe several interrelated crises, complications, or challenges that the campaigners faced, such as medical conditions, loss of employment, and housing crises. Most campaigners are without a functioning car because of an unexpected event – a car crash, breakdown, or repairs piling up – combined with being unable to pay for the repairs or replacement. Finally, we find that the cars are desired to ease travel to work and school, to chauffer children, and in a surprisingly large number of campaigns, to access medical care.
Residential Relocations and Vehicle Ownership Among Low-Income Households
andrew schouten, Ritsumeikan UniversityShow Abstract
Densely developed urban areas generally offer good access to destinations by public transportation, bicycle, or on foot, attenuating automobile dependence to some degree. In sprawling suburban communities, by contrast, transit service tends to be inadequate, destinations are spatially distant, and owning a vehicle is a virtual necessity. While a robust body of literature has investigated the relationship between automobile ownership and residence in both urban and suburban neighborhoods, little is known about how household relocations—specifically, moves between urban and suburban geographies—affect the likelihood of owning a vehicle. Using the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and a refined neighborhood typology, I examine the relationship between inter-geography moves and transitions into and out of carlessness among low-income households. Results suggest that urban-to-suburban movers, relative to households that move within urban neighborhoods, have high likelihood of becoming car owners. By contrast, households moving in the “opposite” direction—from suburban to urban neighborhoods—show an increased propensity to transition into carlessness. These findings demonstrate how low-income families adjust their vehicle ownership in conjunction with changes in residential context, and that these households quickly align their level of car access to suit the built environment of their post-move neighborhood.
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