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Connotative meanings of sustainable mobility: A segmentation approach using cultural sentiments


  • Wolf, Ingo
  • Schröder, Tobias


Changing people’s travel behaviours and mode choices is an important mitigation option to reduce greenhouse gas emission in transport. Previous studies have shown that symbolic meanings associated with new low-emission vehicles and travel services influence people’s willingness to adopt these innovations. However, little is known about the symbolic meanings of many upcoming transport innovations, which often influence habitual decision-making and their stratification within the population. This study thus examines cultural affective meanings of a broad range of conventional and novel transport mode options in a nationally representative German sample. Cluster analysis of affective meanings of travel modes identified six unique traveller segments. These consumer groups differ significantly in their intention to adopt low-emission travel modes and are characterized by specific psychographic, socio-demographic and behavioural profiles. The results demonstrate that affective meanings of choice options are predictive regarding the attitudes and (intended) behaviour of traveller segments. Moreover, the invariant positive meanings of conventional cars across segments indicate the strong cultural embeddedness of this mode in society. We discuss the implications of our approach for the development of government strategies for sustainable transport.

Suggested Citation

  • Wolf, Ingo & Schröder, Tobias, 2019. "Connotative meanings of sustainable mobility: A segmentation approach using cultural sentiments," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 259-280.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:transa:v:126:y:2019:i:c:p:259-280
    DOI: 10.1016/j.tra.2019.06.002

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