In the driving seat: psychosocial benefits from private motor vehicle transport compared to public transport

A Ellaway, S Macintyre, Rosemary Hiscock, A Kearns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

139 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The aim of current transport policy in the UK and many other developed countries is to reduce reliance on private motor vehicle transport in order to promote public health and reduce environmental degradation. Despite the emphasis in these policies on the unhealthiness of private motor car use, epidemiological studies have consistently shown that car access is associated with longevity and better health. We examine this paradox using a postal survey of adults in the West of Scotland (n=2043, m=896, f=1147) to investigate the psychosocial benefits associated with private and public motor vehicle transport. Those with access to a car appear to gain more psychosocial benefits (mastery, self esteem, and feelings of autonomy, protection, and prestige) than public transport users from their habitual mode of transport. Being a car driver conferred more benefits than being a passenger, except for self esteem which was only associated with driving among men. Self-esteem was also associated with type of car among men but not women. This study suggests that if people are to be encouraged to reduce private motor vehicle use, policies need to take into account some of the psychosocial benefits people might derive from such use.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-331
Number of pages115
JournalTransportation Research Part F - Traffic Psychology and Behaviour
Volume6
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2003

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