No. 42



Mobility Profiles of Estonian Residents Compared to the Global Trends

09 December 2020


RiTo No. 42, 2020

Over the next decades, personal mobility is facing huge changes: because of developments in mitigating climate change, technological innovation, ageing of the population, but also the consumer and mobility habits of the Y-generation. The main challenges are linked to the more sustainable and environmental nature of mobility.

The importance of daily mobility as a tool for promoting public health is also increasing – more active mobility options also lead to better physical and mental health, and reduced air pollution. However, for a number of reasons, Estonia has so far followed the trend of increased use of cars at the expense of public transport and walking.

One way to summarise the mobility behaviour of the Estonian population and ways to direct it is by creating mobility profiles. Cluster analysis of mobility patterns and habits results in nine main mobility profiles. The profiles were created by using the data from the annual Kantar Emor trend survey Kompass 2020, which included not only means of mobility, socio-demographic features and places of residence, but also attitudes and mobility preferences in the near future.

The profiles offer real life explanations and examples, and prove that “nudging” towards more sustainable modes of transport calls for a fairly flexible approach. For example, these demonstrate that young members of the society, especially the so-called Y-generation, feel that the importance of a smaller environmental footprint of mobility is above average. Their consumer choices are different as are their preferences for forms of transport– renting instead of owning a car, public transport, and bicycle. Car-centric profiles show that in low-density rural areas, public transport does not generally provide an alternative to a private car in either speed or comfortability for users. For these groups, another option next to developing the accessibility of public transport is to offer targeted benefits for acquiring or renting less polluting vehicles, and to provide demand-based transport solutions.

Inevitably, it is not possible to direct all members of the society to use public transport, or bicycles and personal transporters. However, the profiles highlight various target groups and options about how and where to invest energy and funds to contribute to the more sustainable mobility goal. The analysis also confirms the general options – developing public transport in urban areas, more numerous and comfortable bicycle roads and a more sustainable vehicle fleet in rural areas. The profiles also demonstrate that the local government plays an important role in directing mobility while planning residential areas, services and retail trade, as well as during the spatial planning of local services.