PhD defence: Juliane Groβe – Københavns Universitet

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PhD defence: Juliane Groβe

Juliane Groβe defends her thesis,

Urban structure and sustainable transport
Exploring the relationship between urban structure and travel behavior and the role of urban planning in Northern Europe

Supervisors:
Associate Professor Trine Agervig Carstensen, IGN
Associate Professor Christian Fertner, IGN
Senior Researcher Niels Boje Groth, IGN

Assessment Committee:
Assistant Professor Kobe Boussauw, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Senior Researcher Linda Christensen, Technical University of Denmark
Professor Gertrud Jørgensen (chair), IGN

Summary:
Transport is responsible for one third of the energy consumption and one quarter of the greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union. Although technological improvements have fallen short of inducing the required reductions, transport is still predominantly the subject of a technology debate. On the contrary, the potential for structural changes in travel behaviour has not been sufficiently exploited yet.
This PhD study explores the relationship between urban structure and travel behaviour and the role of urban planning in promoting more sustainable travel patterns. The study conceptualises the role of urban planning by means of a multiple-case study of the three medium-sized Northern European cities, Eskilstuna, Turku and Tartu, that was conducted based on qualitative methods.
Further, the study investigates the relationship between the urban structure of people’s living environment and their travel behaviour by integrating daily modality styles (work and leisure), and weekend and holiday travel behaviour in a comprehensive analysis. Moreover, the phenomenon of compensatory leisure travel is addressed. For this purpose, a questionnaire survey was carried out in an urban district (Østerbro) of central Copenhagen and in a small town (Borup) in the commuter belt of Greater Copenhagen.
The study achieves a comprehensive understanding of travel behaviour and qualifies the role of urban structure in relation to further determinants. The influence of urban structure is largely limited to daily travel (bounded trips). Beyond urban structure, other determinants such as socio-economic factors, personal preferences and lifestyle, which are partly reflected in residential choices, have a significant influence on travel behaviour. This becomes particularly evident in weekend and holiday travel (non-bounded trips). Additionally, summer cottage use among city dwellers indicates some sort of ompensatory leisure travel.
Consequently, urban planning can optimise urban structure and cooperate in transport planning, but structural adaptations of travel behaviour require also the involvement of higher tiers of policy-making.

The thesis is available for inspection from the PhD administration office 04.1.413 at Øster Voldgade 10