The motivation underlying adolescents׳ intended time-frame for driving licensure and car ownership: A socio-ecological approach

Sigrun Birna Sigurdardottir, Sigal Kaplan, Mette Møller*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


This study focuses on the adolescent's intended time-frame for obtaining a driving license and purchasing a car, as the delay of these decisions will likely affect the amount of travel and transport externalities. Semi-structured interviews with 50 Danish adolescents were analyzed by means of deductive-inductive thematic narrative analysis based on the socio-ecological approach. The results show three groups in line with the market-diffusion model: intended early car users, intended early license holders and later car users, and intended late license holders and car users. The first group are car enthusiasts who associate cars with high instrumental, affective, symbolic, and relational values, have car-oriented social networks, and imagine a car-oriented lifestyle. The second group are car pragmatists, who associate cars with high instrumental and relational values, perceive car expenses as a barrier, and imagine a car-oriented lifestyle only in the long-term. The third group are car skeptics, who have low interest in cars and imagine a cycling-oriented future. Policy implications concern (i) promoting shared-responsibility among individuals, public bodies, communities and policy makers towards a sustainable future, (ii) applying a policy-package comprising complementary policy measures to target the three identified groups, (iii) relying on social networks for knowledge propagation and success of policy measures and educational campaigns, and (iv) promoting a tangible future vision based on sustainable modes.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)19-25
Number of pages7
JournalTransport Policy
StatePublished - Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank two anonymous reviewers for their insightful and helpful comments on a previous version of the manuscript. The research forms part of the project “Drivers and Limits” funded by the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation (Styrelsen for Forskning og Innovation), Denmark (Grant no. 2140-08-0012) .


  • Adolescents
  • Car ownership
  • Driving license
  • Market diffusion model
  • Narrative analysis
  • Socio-ecological model


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