Short Car Trips in Norway: is There a Potential for Modal Shift?

Short Car Trips in Norway: is There a Potential for Modal Shift?


L VĂ¥gane, Institute of Transport Economics, NO


The majority of the short car trips are parts of longer trip chains or have shopping or accompanying children as purpose. Men, young adults and people in less central areas use their car more than others. This indicates a potential for modal shift.


A considerable number of car trips in Norway are short. More than one third of all trips as a car driver are 3 km or shorter, and the car share is as high as 42 percent on trips between 0.5 and 1.0 km. Increased attention to congestion, pollution and climate change, raises questions to why there are not more extensive use of non-motorized modes on short trips.

Three issues are examined in this paper. First, what characterises the short car trips? In what situations and for which purposes is the car used? Second, to what extent are the short car trips parts of a trip chain? Are they elements in a trip chain where car use is almost inevitable due to the trip purposes and/or distance of the whole tour? Third, what significance do various factors have in explaining car use on short trips? Both attributes of the trip, the trip chain and personal characteristics are examined. Is there a potential for changing mode from car to more environmentally friendly transport modes on these short trips and if so, does this potential vary across different subgroups in the population?

The analysis shows that a large part of the shortest car trips has shopping or accompanying children as purpose and this factor can be a plausible explanation for driving. Results also reveal that a large number of the shortest car trips are part of a trip chain and should therefore not be considered only as a short distance trip. A logistic regression model fitted for the probability of car owners using their car on short trips indicates that the purpose and length of the trip chain are important factors, but also that men, young adults and people living outside the larger cities use their car more on short trips than others. This suggests that a potential for modal shift exists among certain subgroups with frequent car use.

This paper uses data from the Norwegian Personal National Travel Survey 2005. 17 500 people from 13 years upward have been interviewed about their transport resources and their travel activities. Interviews were carried out throughout the whole year to avoid seasonal variations in travel behaviour. The data set contains nearly 60 000 trips carried out the day before the interview took place.


Association for European Transport