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.
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