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Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(2), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8020058

The Importance of Public Transport for Mobility and Everyday Activities among Rural Residents

VTI, Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute, Linköping 581 95, Sweden
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Received: 1 December 2018 / Revised: 4 February 2019 / Accepted: 12 February 2019 / Published: 16 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Transport and Social Psychology)
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Abstract

A lack of transport opportunities has been shown to be a barrier for accessibility and social inclusion in contemporary society. In rural and sparsely populated areas, access to public transport is often poor compared to urban areas, leading to fewer possibilities to participate in normal relationships and activities among rural dwellers. Based on qualitative interviews with rural dwellers in Sweden, the aim of this study was to explore how access to transport can meet the needs of mobility and activity participation in everyday life and how different modes of transport are being used. The study has been permeated by the time-geographical perspective, which considers people’s use of time and space and the restrictions they face in order to carry out activities, including travel. The results show that travel by private car plays a central role in realizing everyday activities for rural dwellers, as well as a perception of the car as being the norm in contemporary society. Frequent car use is the consequence of a combination of time-space restrictions, habit, and a lack of services, activities, and public transport in rural areas. Poor public transport services limit children’s and adolescents’ independent mobility in particular. Further, the physical environment influences the ability to use public transport, for example if roads and bus stops are seen as unsafe. Based on the results of the study, several measures and improvements are proposed that could increase mobility and accessibility in rural areas and reduce car dependency. View Full-Text
Keywords: public transport use; mobility; rural areas; mode choice; time geography public transport use; mobility; rural areas; mode choice; time geography
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Berg, J.; Ihlström, J. The Importance of Public Transport for Mobility and Everyday Activities among Rural Residents. Soc. Sci. 2019, 8, 58.

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