In 2018, ten families in Umeå were challenged to live without a car for three months. The conclusion was that it was easier than expected. The study was intended for people who have been thinking of reducing their car usage, but who needed a final push to implement the change. The participants were offered a variety of means of transport. The families were interviewed by a researcher. After the test period, three families chose to live without a car, but all participants retained new habits

Implemented in

  • Europe and Central Asia
  • Sweden

Led by

Sector of activity
Transport

Type of initiative
Education & Awareness Raising, Policy Frameworks & Tools, Other

Type of lead actor
Government / public sector

Start date
15/06/2018

End date
20/05/2019

Shared by

Anna Gemzell

Project Manager

Umeå kommun

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Objectives

The objective was to try out and evaluate new methods to encourage sustainable transport.
Umeå municipality has a long tradition of facilitating sustainable travel, both in terms of investments in cycling infrastructure and public transport

Activities

In 2018, ten families in Umeå were challenged to live without a car for three months. The conclusion was that it was easier than expected and that the process changed the families' view of themselves and their travel.

The norm is that families with children own a car. But with a combination of different means of transport, planning and adapting habits, the study shows it was possible to reach more sustainable transport behaviour. Umeå municipality has a long tradition of facilitating sustainable travel, both in terms of investments in cycling infrastructure and public transport frequency, but also different ways of inspiring and motivating sustainable behaviour changes.
Here we have turned it around. Instead of proposing a mode of transport such as a bicycle or bus, we have challenged the participants to remove a way of travelling. The families have simply been tested to change behaviour by excluding another and this makes our test a little unique.
The study was intended for people who have been thinking of reducing their car usage, but who needed a final push to implement the change. As a support, the participants were offered a variety of means of transport that could replace the car; electric bike, bus pass and access to a carpool and a cargo-bike pool.

Impact and Results

After the test period, three families chose to continue living without a car, three families considered switching to more environmentally friendly cars and the remaining four families stuck to the car, but retained some new habits and behaviours, mainly related to everyday travel.