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Leisure Traffic in Urban Areas (SVI 2004/074)

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Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Project website
STRIA Roadmaps
Smart mobility and services (SMO)
Transport mode
Road icon
Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues,
Environmental/Emissions aspects
Transport sectors
Passenger transport


Background & Policy context

Leisure traffic is the most important segment of traffic, showing the highest share of road transport. Moreover, it contributes to high emissions and it is related to high energy consumption. Within research, leisure traffic is perceived as the most difficult segment to be influenced at all. A very detailed understanding of its complex structures is crucial in order to suggest approaches to a sustainable urban traffic system.


The main goals of the projects are:

  • To quantify the key figures in leisure travel and in people’s behaviour in urban areas during their leisure time in order to estimate the significance of leisure travel within urban areas.
  • To work out potentials of regulation and possible impacts of leisure travel towards sustainability using mobility style groups in leisure time.
  • To develop useful approaches to influence the mobility style groups to discover the potentials and limitations of shifting traffic towards public transport (PT) and walking or cycling.

The first step of the project included the interpretation of basic data within the area of leisure traffic provided by the 2005 Swiss Microcensus on Travel Behaviour. In an empirical research carried out in 2007 for the population of metropolitan area in the German and French-speaking parts of Switzerland, profiles of general attitude portraying both people’s mobility and their lifestyle were worked out and analysed. From these data, a typology of leisure mobility was derived in order to develop measures to influence and regulate leisure traffic in urban areas.

As a final result, the project provides basic information on the significance of leisure traffic within urban areas as well as an in-depth understanding of the activity-driven and motivational background of leisure behaviour in everyday life. Furthermore, efficient approaches to influence leisure traffic will be presented, and recommendations for a more sustainable design of leisure transport in urban areas will be given.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Private foundation
Institution Name
Association of Transportation Engineers
Type of funding
Public (national/regional/local)


These are the main results of the project:

Analysing the 2005 Swiss Microcensus on Travel Behaviour

A detailed analysis of the 2005 Swiss Microcensus on Travel Behaviour has shown that 26 % of all trips in Switzerland are leisure trips within urban areas; 62 % of all trips in leisure travel start and end within an urban area. 23 % of the volume of traffic in Switzerland is produced by trips which start and end in urban areas during leisure time. This corresponds to 21.9 thousand million out of a Freizeitverkehr innerhalb von Agglomerationen total 95.5 thousand million kilometres. A share of more than 82 % of all trips is composed by only 5 activities: „Walking outdoors“ (walking, hiking, strolling in the city; 27.5 %, 1.32 Mrd. Pkm), „Restaurant“ (23.5 %, 1.48 Mrd. Pkm); „Visiting Friends and Relatives“ (17.4 %, 1.82 Mrd. km); „Active Sports“ (10.7 %, 1.24 Mrd. Pkm); and „Culture Events“ (5.6 %, 0.6 Mrd. Pkm) (Chapter 4).

Analysing mobility styles in leisure time

Four main leisure mobility styles were identified in the multivariate analysis: the culturally engaged (car and multimodal-leaning, 33 %), the active sportsman/women (bike-leaning, 28 %), the sociable stay-at-home (car and public transport-leaning, 22 %) and the entertainment-and-distraction oriented (car-leaning, 16 %) (Chapter 5).

Development of approaches to influence leisure traffic

For each of these four mobility styles, a strategy and measurements are developed. The focus of these intentions lies on the avoidance of trips, a shift towards public transport, an improvement of the organisation of transport, and an ideal hoice of the means of transport (Chapters 6 and 7). The shown approaches to service various mobility styles in leisure time should be implemented in a broader framework of strategies, namely transport policy for leisure travel and in transport policy in general. 

The potential effectiveness of the strategies can be quantified as follows in context of leisure within urban areas (see chapter 8): A reduction of 7 % of car-based travel and a reduction of 10 % of traffic demand (1.95 billion person-kilometres).

Conclusion and further research questions

The results of the report at hand enable to assess the attributes of leisure transport within urban areas. It delivers insights into activity-driven and motivational aspects of daily leisure behaviour for citizens living


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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