Shifting paradigms: Exploring the dynamics of individual preferences, behaviours and lifestyles influencing travel and mobility choices
There are indications that transport may be entering a period of paradigm shifts due to the introduction of disruptive technologies but also due to changes in individual preferences, behaviours, lifestyles and the emergence of social innovation and new concepts which are likely to impact on the future transport models and management. Some of these changes are already present, as for example, the growing trend towards vehicle sharing practices in many European cities, while others may still be at their very early stages, as for example, changing values of travel time.
Car sharing has been gradually developing over the past two decades while new business models and social innovation are likely to emerge in the forthcoming years fostered also by new IT applications (app-based services). This relatively short period of time has not allowed for a comprehensive and established assessment of its various impacts in social, economic and environmental terms. Estimates for its growth potential over the next decades vary considerably, so do estimates about the "replacing capacity" of car sharing. Similarly, its effects in reducing congestions, emissions and noise – especially in urban areas – as well as the impact on car manufacturing industries have not been sufficiently explored.
Travel time savings is often the principal benefit of a transportation project and efforts to achieve faster travel have been long dominating decision making. The value of travel time has been perceived as a cost which includes costs to businesses of the time their employees and vehicles spend on travel, and costs to consumers of personal (unpaid) time spent on travel. However, as technology evolves (particularly ICT), people can use their time during travel for business or leisure thus "reducing" the cost of travel in economic terms and allowing other considerations (such as energy savings, pricing, environmental and social considerations) to affect their travel time preferences.
Transport research is needed to explore at an early stage the dynamics of such changes and their impacts in socio-economic and environmental terms. The specific research challenges of this topic are to provide comprehensive analyses of these new preferences, behaviours and lifestyles, identify the main factors that influence them and assess their potential economic, social and environmental impact. In all aspects, issues of age and gender should be taken into consideration.
In order to meet this challenge, proposals should address one of the two following parts:
1. Shifting from car ownership to sharing. Proposals should:
- Compare the existing trends and forecasts across the EU and identify the factors (economic/social/demographic/spatial/cultural aspects), that influence the varied implementation of such schemes in different countries/regions/cultures including the growing use of app-based services.
- Compare and benchmark existing business models, social innovations and identify possible new ones.
- Assess the implications of car sharing schemes for the European car industry (impact on foreseen sales of conventional and electric cars, other revenues, etc.).
- Assess the potential impact on emissions, noise and congestion, especially in urban environments, as well as on safety of potential users.
2. Changing value of travel time. Proposals should:
- Analyse differences between various travel motivations (leisure, business) and the related travel time value and examine the extent to which the proliferation of ICT applications such as wifi connections (e.g. in trains, ships) tend to reduce the perceived cost of travel time for private and corporate travel. Gender disaggregated data collection and analysis could contribute to a more thorough analysis.
- Identify possible areas where a shift away from the "speed paradigm" would be feasible and provide estimates of environmental, socio-economic and organisational implications.
- Propose cost-benefit analyses of additional time savings in case of already advanced transport connections (e.g. need for faster high speed trains, for new sections of motorways in certain "almost saturated" areas, etc.) taking into account the possible new concepts of value of travel time and their environmental and socio-economic implications.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 1 and 2 million each would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
As mentioned in the specific challenge the topic seeks to provide comprehensive analyses of the dynamics of new preferences, behaviours and lifestyles, to identify the main factors that influence them and to assess their potential economic, social and environmental impact. Work under this topic is expected to collect and provide up-to-date information on the present state of development of new business models and social innovations, a reliable assessment of their growth potential across different geographical cultural and economic environments and an assessment of their impact in areas of key policy interest, such as urban congestion, emission and noise reductions. In addition, it is expected to provide concrete assessments of their impacts on the European car industry (including electric vehicles) over the mid-long term.
The collection of updated and reliable data on the car sharing market and its prospects as well as assessments on their social, economic and environmental impact will facilitate evidence-based policy making particularly with regard to urban congestion/emissions/re-organisation of urban transport. It will also contribute to a forward looking analysis of the prospects of the European car industry market.
Work is also expected to contribute to the generation of new knowledge in a new and under-researched area which may lead in the short-medium term to different cost-benefit assessment methods of transport projects and in depth knowledge of users attitudes and choices with respect to travel time and in the longer term in possible energy savings and emission reductions as well as re-organisation of transport routes and schedules based on different perceptions of the value of travel time.