Understanding Energy Consumption and Mobility Behaviour - a Starting-Point for Interventions to Change Individual Behaviour to More Sustainability
Residential energy consumption and mobility behaviour are influenced by many of variables and show big variance between households, even within the same number, age, income and work status of its occupants in the same neighbourhood resp. the same building types. Understanding these differences is important for forecasting energy consumption and transport and for developing new technologies, programs and policy concepts.
In sociology it is assumed that it is possible to describe and explain behavioural differences with features of social inequality. Research into social stratification in modern societies has shown that the complexity of social activities cannot be explained by socio demographic and socio-economic variables alone. Attitudinal variables resp. lifestyle- and milieu-based approaches have thus finally been introduced in order to explain and understand individual mobility behaviour and residential energy consumption in more depth, and to segment the population into meaningful (target) groups (e.g. market research). Although none of the approaches can claim absolute superiority, attitudinal based approaches show advantages in providing starting-points for interventions to change individual behaviour to more sustainability.
This contribution explains theoretically why a differentiated view of behaviour is important, gives an overview of various segmentation approaches and shows from a Viennese study, which comparing different approaches, how significantly are attitudinal-based approaches to explanation and understanding energy consumption and mobility behaviour.
This is one area of research of the PhD program "Urban Energy and Mobility Systems" (URBEM), which has been instituted by Wiener Stadtwerke Holding AG and the Vienna University of Technology (http://urbem.tuwien.ac.at).