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Open AccessArticle

Towards Carbon-Neutral Mobility in Finland: Mobility and Life Satisfaction in Day-to-Day Life

by Sakari Höysniemi 1,2,* and Arto O. Salonen 3,4,5
1
Aleksanteri Institute, Faculty of Arts, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 24, FI-00014 Helsinki, Finland
2
Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS), University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 3, FI-00014 Helsinki, Finland
3
Faculty of Social Sciences and Business Studies, University of Eastern Finland, P.O. Box 1627, FI-70211 Kuopio, Finland
4
Department of Leadership and Military Pedagogy, Finnish National Defence University, PL 7, 00861 Helsinki, Finland
5
Smarter Mobility Innovation Hub, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, 00079 Helsinki, Finland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(19), 5374; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11195374
Received: 24 August 2019 / Revised: 13 September 2019 / Accepted: 19 September 2019 / Published: 28 September 2019
Finland, a prosperous Nordic country with a population of 5.5 million and significant distances between towns, though quite short distances traveled by car, is aiming to be a carbon-neutral society by 2035. Due to the level of urgency, a technological pathway with decarbonization of fuels and innovation only, is unlikely to be sufficient. Instead, a more systemic change based on a transformative pathway with demand-side management, i.e., measures based on behavioral change, is vital. In this research we were interested in learning how life satisfaction relates to the behavioral intentions of Finnish citizens, regarding a sustainable modal shift. We focused on walking, cycling, public transport and reduction in car use, e.g., a transition from fossil fuels to active mobility, from ownership to usership. Data were collected via a questionnaire in April 2017. The respondents (n = 2052) provided 2335 comments as to why they considered a specific sustainable modality as being important to them. We applied both qualitative and quantitative methods in order to establish how the mobility behavior of citizens manifests nationwide and the types of arguments that citizens put forward concerning their mobility intentions. The results indicate that there is a strong relationship between the respondents’ reduced use of private cars and their life satisfaction. There is a concern about sustainability and a willingness to change current mobility practices, as well as signs of altruism, while hedonic concerns such as health and personal finances dominate the responses. Furthermore, concerns about social injustice, such as a lack of public transport, are emerging themes, i.e., when enacting mobility transitions it is vital to focus on how to enable a meaningful life for all demographic groups using suitable mobility services. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainable mobility; demand management; life satisfaction; sustainability transitions; mobility behavior; cycling; walking; car use; public transport sustainable mobility; demand management; life satisfaction; sustainability transitions; mobility behavior; cycling; walking; car use; public transport
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Höysniemi, S.; Salonen, A.O. Towards Carbon-Neutral Mobility in Finland: Mobility and Life Satisfaction in Day-to-Day Life. Sustainability 2019, 11, 5374.

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