Private car use in Austria by demographic structure and regional variations
Due to its manifold impact on the environment private car use represents an important dimension of en-vironmental behaviour in industrialized countries. Obviously, private car use is related to demographic characteris-tics of households such as the life-cycle stage and the living arrangement the household lives in. In addition sys-tematic regional differences of private car use have to be taken into account. In this paper a causal model is de-rived, which aims to explain regional variations in car use (as measured by the distance driven) by regional demo-graphic differences and region-specific control factors such as attitudes towards car use, car technology, and insti-tutional factors. Using aggregate data from an household survey in Austria and data from Austrian official statistics causal effect coefficients are then estimated. By applying path analysis the estimated effects of regional demo-graphic characteristics on region-specific car use can be decomposed into direct and indirect effects, with the latter effects being mediated by the control factors. Almost no significant direct demographic effect on car use can be found. Region-specific averages of distances driven are best predicted by using the considered control factors as predictor variables. Nevertheless, many of the presumed indirect effects turn out to be of importance. For instance, the regional mean age of household heads can be discerned as a key factor of demographic effects on car use since it significantly influences several of the region-specific control factors. Moreover our results evidence that the regional pattern of car use is covered by various combinations of control factors. (AUTHORS)
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