The Dynamics of Car Ownership in EU Countries: a Comparison Based on the European Household Panel Survey
J Dargay, University of Oxford, UK; L Hivert, INRETS, FR
The European Household Panel Survey is used to examine changes in car ownership over time for individual households and to compare the distribution of car ownership in relation to income and changes in this distribution over time European countries.
Car ownership and the number of households and individuals with access to a car have been increasing more-or-less continually over the past decades in all European countries. The year-to-year net changes that are observable on the aggregate national level are generally relatively small. These net changes, however, conceal much more substantial changes on the individual household level. As shown in an earlier study (Dargay, Hanly, Hivert, Madre and Chlond: ?Demotorisation seen through panel surveys: a comparison of France, Britain and Germany?, paper presented at the 10th International Conference on Travel Behaviour Research, Lucerne, August 2003) between any two points in time a number of households increase car ownership, while some, although fewer, households reduce car ownership. One of the objectives of this paper is to examine these changes in car ownership for individual households in a larger number of European countries. Of particular interest are those households that decrease the number of cars they own or give up car ownership completely.
To observe such changes, it is necessary to have observations of car ownership for individual households over time, i.e., panel data. This study is based on the European Household Panel Survey (EHPS) which contains data for 15 countries for the period 1994 to 2001 (slightly shorter for 3 of the countries). These data are intended to be comparable for the countries included, so the survey provides a useful data source for cross-country comparisons. This is the first attempt to use the EHPS to examine car ownership on an individual household level, and the results will provide a comparison of car ownership in Europe unobtainable with other data sources.
Apart from car ownership, the survey contains a wide-range of socio-economic and demographic variables for the individual countries. In addition to comparing changes in car ownership in the various countries, we hope to use these data to investigate the factors behind these changes. Some examples are the influence of income, changes in employment, changing household structure and changes in residential and work location.
The second objective of this study is to examine and compare the distribution of car ownership in the various countries, particularly in relation to income, but also in relation to other factors such as residential location, age and household structure. Finally, the dynamics of car ownership will be analysed by considering changes in the distributions over time.
This paper is part of a project, ?L?automobile en Europe?, funded by Agence de l?Environnement et de la Maîtrise de l?Energie in France.
Association for European Transport