The travel behaviour of young families: opportunities for lift-sharing to and from children’s activities
thesisposted on 27.07.2020, 14:06 by Sarah-Anne De-Kremer
This research presents a study of the opportunities for lift-sharing between families with young children in the specific context of children’s activities. The research identifies the key conditions that support lift-sharing in this context. Study 1 utilised travel pattern diaries and interviews on reasons for mode choice (with 13 families) to identify opportunities to decrease frequency of low occupancy car trips in families with young children. Frequency of short and/or low occupancy car trips was high. The potential for lift-sharing for children’s activities was identified. There was a lack of existing research on factors influencing lift-sharing of this type; consequently Study 2 and Study 3 aimed to explore lift-sharing for children’s activities. The online travel survey of 474 families in Study 2 assessed lift-share prevalence to establish socio-demographic and activity factors that influence lift-share prevalence, in general and for children’s activities. These influential factors include: number of cars owned, number of seats in car, settlement type, income level, time of day and location of the activity, number of children attending, parking availability and number of close friends of the child attendee. Study 3 comprised interviews with 15 parents to gain a deeper understanding of how and why families participate in activity lift-sharing, and to understand how social exchange theory applies in this context. Key findings included time saving ability and social opportunity as salient motivating factors, trust being an initial imperative component of lift-share formation, variation in attitudes towards reciprocity, parent utilisation of synchronous and asynchronous communication channels being dependent on time gap to lift-share responsibility and recognition of the advantageous group communication affordances of instant group messaging applications. Five fundamental themes were identified across the results of the three studies. These included influential ‘household factors’ and influential ‘activity factors,’ and the concepts of and implications of ‘time,’ ‘relationships,’ and ‘technology and communications’ that are fundamental to activity lift-share operation and formation. The knowledge gained on these topics has taken forward understanding of how lift-sharing between families with young children operates, and our understanding of the opportunities for children’s activity lift-sharing.