IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

People’s preferences for commuting in sparsely populated areas: The case of Sweden

Listed author(s):
  • Westin, Kerstin


    (Dept of Social and Economic Geography)

  • Sandow, Erika

    (Dept of Social and Economic Geography; Sweden)

Registered author(s):

    In a time of decreased inclination to migrate and an increased place attachment, increasing commuting can improve the functionality of local labor markets. In regional development policy in Sweden, facilitating increased commuting over larger geographical areas is therefore viewed as essential for enhancing the supply of competent labor in all parts of the country and decreasing spatial segmentation. Building on an analysis of data from a survey of Swedish residents' commuting options and preferences, this paper focuses on commuting in a relatively sparsely populated and peripheral area in northern Sweden. Further, the question of whether increased commuting is socially sustainable from a commuter’s perspective is discussed. The point of departure is that the individual and the individual’s context affect commuting behavior through social norms, geographical structure and available in\-fra\-struc\-ture. With respect to travel patterns and mode choice, a gender perspective is included in the analyses. The results show that the geographic and socio-economic structure of the labor market place time restrictions on people’s commuting behavior and as a consequence people's daily reach in sparsely populated areas is restricted. Geographical structure, available infrastructure, and socio-economic factors (such as education, employment, and family situation) are also found to restrict women’s access to the local labor market to a greater extent than men’s. Furthermore, the study shows that the inclination to commute declines rapidly when commuting times exceed 45 minutes, regardless of gender, transport mode, and socio-economic factors. Considering distances and the provision of public transport in sparsely populated areas, the car is valued as the most optimal mode of transport when commuting. If regional growth is to be promoted by facilitating commuting over longer distances, a higher level of car dependency must be accepted in sparsely populated areas.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    File Function: Full text
    Download Restriction: no

    Article provided by Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota in its journal The Journal of Tranport and Land Use.

    Volume (Year): 2 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 3 ()
    Pages: 87-107

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:ris:jtralu:0041
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ris:jtralu:0041. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Arlene Mathison)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.