Publication: Changing mobility behaviours in academia under austerity: the case of FEUP
The purpose of this paper is to explore how commuting patterns of university students have changed, in face of the recent austerity that has been occurring in Portugal. Our findings based on two surveys carried out in 2006 and 2012 (before and during the austerity period) reveal that students have changed their travel patterns during economic crisis, becoming more multimodal, friendly of public transport and less dependent on private car. Interestingly, the results also indicate that this change on modal choice was particularly significant for distances longer than 8 km. Indeed, in 2012, students travelled longer distances taking advantage of the improvements in the public transport system, namely in the local Light Rail System that was not yet fully available in 2006. On the other hand, transport costs seemed to be able to explain, to a larger extent, the travel behaviour of those who did not use the individual car. In 2006, the main reason pointed out to move on foot was the time and comfort in short distances, whereas in 2012, the main reason was the overall cost of the journey. Although the overall evolution of the students’ travel behaviour pointed towards greater sustainability patterns, the identified changes also reveal that the social contexts gained more importance. Keywords: University students, travel patterns, mode choice, private, public and non-motorized modes, austerity.
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