Walking short distances. The socioeconomic drivers for the use of proximity in everyday mobility in Barcelona

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© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. Many studies have found that cities, with residents that are co-located with jobs and services in compact and diverse urban environments, generate positive outputs for a number of areas of social policy, with issues ranging from environmental to social and including public health. This evidence supports promoting rich and thriving neighbourhoods in order to encourage short distance mobility. In this context, we use a wide travel survey (EMQ06), undertaken in Spain, to measure short-distance travelling within Barcelona and to assess how distinct social groups make use of the local scale for their everyday mobility. The effects of socioeconomics and access to transport are discussed, prior to applying a Chi-squared Automatic Interaction Detection (CHAID) method, in order to explore heterogeneity among the different social groups, in terms of local travelling. We found that nearly a quarter of all daily mobility in Barcelona is performed with a local trip, and that short trips are more frequently undertaken for personal purposes. Also, age, gender and access to private transport appear as significant factors. Overall, our results suggest that a proximity scale is being used by those groups with greater time-space constraints, such as working women or low income people without access to private vehicles, opening important implications on transport policy regarding the design of proximity-prone environments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-222
JournalTransportation Research, Part A: Policy and Practice
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014


  • Barcelona
  • Local travel
  • Proximity
  • Walking


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