Leisure and Recreational Trips in Daily Life: Analysis of Panel Data on Mobility Behaviour of Younger Generations in Germany

Leisure and Recreational Trips in Daily Life: Analysis of Panel Data on Mobility Behaviour of Younger Generations in Germany


D Metzler, Heilbronn University; D l Muehlhaus, TNS Infratest, DE


The paper will analyse diary (week report) data from the German Mobility Panel on leisure trips of younger generation in order to give policy and planning insights for future mobility trends.


Planning and policy institutions face the challenge to provide long-term information on demand for transport capacity. Especially in the domain of leisure and recreation forecasting is challenging, because mobility behaviour dependents on various individual and socio-demographic factors. However, crucial parts of the leisure and recreational behaviour are trained and are rarely changed. This fact helps to forecast demand as researchers can learn from current younger generations, what kind of mobility behaviour in leisure and recreation this cohort will show in the future.

The paper will concentrate on two aspects:
1) Description of general changes in travel behaviour of younger generations in the last years. Foremost general changes (total trips, trip length, modal split and trip reason, car availability) in individual mobility patterns of cohorts and younger generations (age group up to 35 years) are analysed.
2) With multivariate time series analysis we try to link general aspects of mobility patterns of younger people to the domain of leisure and recreation, making up for a huge part of individual trip volume. This section will deal with the drivers of the mobility behaviour in the leisure and recreational periods of daily activities.

Since 1994 travel and mobility behaviour of selected households is tracked on the basis of travel diaries in the German Mobility Panel (MOP), funded by the German Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs. Main purpose of the MOP is complementing different data sources used for transport planning and development.

Mobility data in Germany is "similar to other countries" mainly derived from cross-sectional studies, sampling huge numbers of participants who are interviewed about their travel and mobility decisions and actual travel behaviour. MID makes a perfect example, following the idea of having large numbers of participants asked once about their mobility behaviour of one single day. This enables researchers to drill deeply into geographical and socio-demographic breakdowns.

While MOP is an on-going study, delivering consistent data for each year, the "Mobility in Germany" (MID) was not conducted regularly with varying time slots between the surveys in the last decade. Research design of the German Mobility Panel however does not allow for sample sizes as large as with the MID, in which several ten thousand households are interviewed in years the study is conducted. Rather, the panel design of the MOP focuses on longitudinal and multiperiod activities. Therefore survey participants stay in the panel for three consecutive years and report their travel behaviour not only for one day, but for a entire week per year. These two aspects of the survey design of the MOP lead to important possibilities of data analysis and insights into mobility behaviour for our analysis: usually changes in travel and mobility behaviour are slow and can only be described, if data sourced through identical processes is available over different years.

Analysis can be further enhanced when data for each participant is available over several years, because mobility behaviour and corresponding factors can be tracked over different cross-sections in time. Recording mobility behaviour over one week also helps to draw a more complete picture, as it also helps to remove random noise out of the reported travels and clearly showing routines of mobility behaviour.

By using highly consistent data over several years and processing multiperiod data about individual mobility patterns, the paper gives general insights about the mobility behaviour of younger generations in Germany. Secondly, with the analysis of leisure and recreation trips the paper contributes to a highly policy relevant area, in which free individual choices cause special issues for capacity planning and demand forecasting.


Association for European Transport