Who are most likely to adapt their travel behaviour to changes in weather conditions? A study of weather tolerance and travel behaviour in Norway

Susanne T. Dale Nordbakke, Silvia Olsen



This study, based on two questionnaire surveys from two cities in Norway with different climate conditions, explores to which extent weather tolerance in terms of travel behaviour – here defined as using a non-motorized vehicle despite poor weather conditions (precipitation and/or cold weather) – is related to socio-demographic factors, environmental attitudes, transport habits as well as the climate conditions (coastal/inland) of where people live. Three indicators are used to measure ‘weather tolerance’: a) Disagreement to the statement “I always drive when it rains”; b) Willingness to walk 2-3 kilometers in minus 10 degrees Celsius or more in steady snowfall (yes/no), and c) Willingness to walk 2-3 kilometer in +20 degrees Celsius or more in steady rainfall” (yes/no). The study finds that environmental attitudes and travel habits (as perceived by the respondents) are the factors most strongly related to weather tolerance, independent on how it is measured, when other factors are controlled for. The findings suggest that policy measures to change attitudes/ increase environmental awareness as well as promoting outdoor activity in general can be effective in terms of making people choose active transportation even in poor weather conditions. This might be important steps to reduce the likelihood of car use in the future, when extreme weathers are to become more likely.


Keywords: travel behaviour, environmental attitudes, weather tolerance, climate change, sustainable travel behaviour


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© European Journal of Sustainable Development

ISSN 2239-5938 (print)
ISSN 2239-6101 (online)