What Kind of Traveler are You?

Via World Streets:

A survey in Germany identifies five types of travelers, with respect to their attitudes around greenhouse gases and transportation choices:

  1. Public transport rejecters. These believe public transport provides little sense of control or excitement. They are not open to change and see access to mobility as very important.
  2. Car individualists. Similar to public transport rejecters, but are open to change and consider privacy more important.
  3. Weather-resistant cyclists. Positive towards bicycles and will cycle even in bad weather.
  4. Eco-sensitised public transport users. Positive towards public transport and are highly influenced by their environmental conscience.
  5. Self-determined mobile people. Perform the highest percentage of trips by foot; they do not consider mobility important and are not open to change.

I’m probably closest to #4, but also blend in some cycling when the situation and the desire/opportunity for exercise support it.

Which are you?

Would an American survey generate a different set of buckets?

6 responses to “What Kind of Traveler are You?”

  1. I started out using public transit when I had a job that was in a fixed, nearby location and began and ended in daylight hours.

    However having a career that frequently required me to go more than five miles away, to many differing locations, sometimes at night, sometimes too early in the morning to get a decent transit connection, transporting heavy materials at times….changed all of that.

    I think we should try to provide affordable public transit…and do it at a reasonable fiscal cost……but many people have employment situations or business demands that mitigate against utilizing public systems.

    So it isn’t always a matter of what you prefer to do—but what you have to.

  2. When I lived in Vancouver, BC, I had an 8 minute commute by bike. I rode in all but the worst weather, because in eight minutes you don’t get very wet (I used an umbrella), and because the bus or walking took way too long and we didn’t have a car.

    To get around the neighbourhood, I usually rode my bike or walked. For trips to other parts of the city, it was bike in good weather, sometimes transit in bad weather. For trips out to the suburbs, it was public transit, and these were sometimes long and unpleasant. For trips to buy big heavy things, we got a car from the car co-op (similar to Zipcar, but cheaper).

    If money had been no issue, we would have gotten a car for those trips to the suburbs, but it did not seem worth it considering we had no need for a car for most trips. But we still wouldn’t use the car in the city much: It would not have been convenient for our work commutes; I’m concerned about the environmental impacts of cars, and I really enjoy riding my bicycle.

    So I’m a little bit of 3, 4, and 5, but open to occasional car use, but income and expense was a huge barriar to car ownership, something that wasn’t mentioned and I’m sure would have to be for a North American survey. (Canada isn’t that different from the US—public transit use is a bit higher but the cities look pretty similar.)

  3. Is it assumed that #5 is desired? That we should be so mobile as not to care about our mobility at all as if it were second nature?

    Because, if this is the case, I feel that public transportation and biking should be included in that definition. These all should be so common as not be “alternative.”

  4. I would say I’m a mix between #3 and #5 – almost all of my trips are by bicycle year-round, and next to that, by foot. I make a few trips by car, and a few trips on transit here and there. I’m not really heavily motivated by environmental concerns, though I do think that’s important – I’m primarily motivated by convenience and enjoyment, and then by equity and livability concerns. I find a bicycle to be the easiest way to get around inner Portland, and I enjoy it much more than driving or riding transit, even in the rain :)

  5. Well I definitely used to be #5, when I lived in NYC. I mostly walked everywhere, taking public transit only when going to far-flung locations (like the Bronx, or the Upper East Side) or when really pressed for time. I walked about 2.2 miles to & from work, every day, some weekends, through rain, snow, and oppressive summer heat & humidity.

    Now, I mostly have to bike everywhere, though I still try to make as many trips on foot as possible. (Unfortunately, that isn’t very many, because Portland is so lacking in density that so many destinations are, by NYC standards, “far-flung.”) And I take public transit more than I used to, whenever I grow tired of getting wet on my bike. I’m definitely not as healthy as I was — biking 8 miles round-trip just doesn’t do as much for me as briskly walking 4.5 miles round-trip did.

    Personally, I just don’t believe that most people really make their transit decisions based primarily on eco-consciousness. I think people bike, walk, drive, or take public transit because they prefer one mode (it makes them feel better, they enjoy it, etc.) or because one is decidedly more convenient than the others.

  6. I’m a #5 – mostly. I grew up like a lot of kids, loving trains, but also loving bus rides (we didn’t have a car). I consider myself more open to change, and have finally accepted that an automobile would be convenient. But only in cases where my transit option is less so.

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