Reference: R185

Last update: 28/07/2009 16:34:13


The primary aim of this research is to understand the role of the car in the travel choices, needs and behaviour of individuals and households, particularly those on low income. In order to achieve this, the research will engage adults from various income groups about:

- What car trips they make, and for what purposes
- How reliant people on low incomes are on their cars - especially for gaining access to key services and social participation
- How people on low incomes budget for car use and the importance attached to running a car in relation to other household expenditure
- Whether being on a limited budget means that trips have to be prioritised in any way
- What factors influence their choice of car


The proposed work is a qualitative study to understand the travel choices, needs and behaviours of households with cars and the factors that influence decision-making about why, where, when and how to travel. This research will particularly explore the differences between households on different income levels.

It will add to, and compliment the evidence base on 'futures' work, road pricing, sustainable travel, social inclusion/exclusion and accessibility.

Its findings will be made via;

A review of existing key literature on how low income groups budget and prioritise their car use.
An oral presentation of findings to an audience of DfT officials including policy advisors and analysts.
A final report consisting of thematic discussion of findings from focus groups and in-depth qualitative interviews with a purposively sampled selection of low income households.


National Centre for Social Research
Survey Methods Centre, 35 Northampton Square, London, EC1V 0AX

Contract details

Cost to the Department: £169,933.00

Actual start date: 06 November 2006

Actual completion date: 31 January 2008


The travel choices and needs of low income households: the role of the car
Author: National Centre for Social Research
Publication date: 22/01/2009
Source: DfT Website
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