Fuel types and travel patterns

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The Swedish research project ‘Drivmedel och Resmönster’ (Fuel types and travel patterns) started in January 2023 with data collection starting in autumn 2023. The primary aim of this project is to analyse travel behaviour and to see what happens when more people drive electric vehicles. Do travel habits change in any way due to the fuel type used in the car? This knowledge is useful to shape the transport systems of the future, helping to dimension infrastructure for car traffic and other mobility services, to estimate requirements for charging infrastructure, and charging capacity requirements in local energy networks.

Read more about the study below, as well some preliminary results from the data collection.

About the research project

The number of electric vehicles is increasing rapidly, even though they are still few compared to the total number of cars in Sweden. Do the relatively low maintenance costs for electric cars affect how people choose to travel? Do people who drive electric cars have different travel patterns compared to people who drive plugin hybrids or petrol / diesel cars? Research from Norway showed that an increase in the number of electric cars in Oslo contributed to reduced CO2 emissions, but also increased traffic congestion and reduced public transport use. More knowledge on how electric cars impact travel patterns in Sweden is needed.

This research project gathered data on travel habits over a six-month period through the use of the TravelVu app. Invitation letters were sent in the autumn of 2023 to approximately 40.000 individuals who have acquired a new vehicle within the last two years. The collaborative research project brings together the three organisations Trivector Traffic, VTI, and Lund University. VTI is the project coordinator and the project is financed by the Swedish Energy Agency.

TravelVu provides an innovative approach to collecting data on how people travel. It relies on tracking an individual’s movements via their mobile phone’s GPS.

Summary – quick insights into the data

Over 100 000 travel days been collected in this project. Here are some preliminary analyses which give some summary statistics for the data collected. We will now dive into the data and do more in-depth studies, also taking into account representativity of different groups among those who have contributed with their data.

A big thank you to everyone who contributed with their data!

Travel distance with different fuel types

It seems that those who drive plugin hybrids (laddhybrid) drive the longest, and those who drive electric cars (elbil) drive the shortest. Something seems to have happened in March and April – can this be because of who has contributed with their data? Our more in-depth analyses will look at how different groups contribute with different amounts of data – then we will get a better understanding of actual differences – although it does seem already that there are exciting things to learn from the data.

Mode share and number of trips per person and day

The participants in this data collection do approximately as many trips per person and day as average. However, in this data collection, we see far fewer trips by public transport and bike than on average. This is not so strange given that this data collection has focused on those who have got a new car over the past two years.

Travel distance per person and day

On average, those who have contributed with their data have travelled between 50 – 60 km per person and day. This is longer than the average for Sweden which is about 48 km per person and day. That those in this survey have travelled further is not strange since the majority of people who have contributed with their data are men, and men travel on average further than women.

Travel time per person and day

On average, the travel time per person per day has been between 100 and 120 minutes. In December, the average was 180 minutes per person and day. We need to look more closely at the data to understand what is happening here. We don’t see the same pattern for travel distance per person and day, which means that the trips are much slower on average in December. Interesting; could it be because of long walking trips over Christmas time? Or long queues in traffic?

Thank you to everyone who has participated in the survey!

Want to know more? Please contact Anna.

Anna Clark