02 commute

Beyond Car Ownership in Cities

Beyond Car Ownership is a project jointly led by LSE Cities and the Institute for Customer Insight at the University of St. Gallen.

Over the past 70 years, automotive companies have managed to develop their products into highly emotional consumer items. This emotionalisation has been so successful that for many people, vehicles convey a sense of self-worth and identification, complicating attempts by city officials to encourage people to shift from driving to more sustainable transport modes. This project seeks to look beyond the rational underpinnings of car ownership and to explore the emotional, often hidden determinants of car purchases.

The research focus is centred around the crucial decision-making moment linked to the purchase of a new vehicle. Based on existing and potential policy instruments within cities and metropolitan regions, this project aims to test opportunities for interventions to disrupt car purchasing intentions and instead offer a combination of mobility services, public and active transport.

The research brings together a wide range of disciplines to enable a novel approach to policy and behavioural transport studies, integrating insights from behavioural psychology, customer research, urban governance and transport policy. The ongoing pilot study focuses on gaining preliminary understandings of car ownership in London and urban Switzerland and attempts to measure emotional attachments to different transport modes in both study areas. The aim is to use these insights to form policy instruments to alter subjective attitudes towards private cars, improve the attractiveness of sustainable transportation modes, and ultimately, disrupt patterns of car purchasing.   



Working Papers:

Project Team

Research Directors
Dr Philipp Rode, Executive Director and Assistant Professorial Research Fellow, LSE Cities
Prof Andreas Hermann, Director, Institute for Customer Insight at the University of St. Gallen and Visiting Professor, LSE Cities

Rebecca Flynn, LSE Cities
Beatrice HueglerUniversity of St. Gallen
Nuno F. Da Cruz, LSE Cities
Catarina Heeckt, LSE Cities


Research Directors
Dr Philipp Rode
Prof Andreas Hermann

Rebecca Flynn
Beatrice Huegler
Nuno F. Da Cruz
Catarina Heeckt

Project Partner
Institute of Customer Insight, University of St. Gallen

Research Strand
Cities, Environment and Climate Change

2020 - 2022