UPD Public Lecture Series: Professor Frank Witlox



Travel behaviour, lifestyles, and sustainable urban mobility


Professor Dr Frank Witlox


The concept of lifestyle adds a behavioural component to travel models that used to be dominated by engineering and econometric traditions.

This presentation gives an overview of how lifestyle is defined and measured in transport studies, and how travel behavior is influenced by lifestyles. Lifestyles are often used pragmatically rather than theoretically in the behavior studies. Nevertheless, some important theoretical contributions have been made, especially in sociology by scholars such as Weber, and Bourdieu who agree on the communicative character of lifestyles: individuals express their social position through specific patterns of behavior, consumption, and leisure.

These behavioral patterns are shaped by underlying opinions and orientations, including beliefs, interests, and attitudes. Thus, travel behavior is not simply determined by price, speed, and comfort but is also related to attitudes, status, and preferences. Because lifestyle has many different dimensions, a variety of measurement approaches exists. How lifestyles themselves can be modified to promote more sustainable patterns of transport has not received much attention to date. (This presentation is based on work of and joint work with Dr Veronique Van Acker (UGent))

Bio of speaker

Frank Witlox is Senior Full Professor of Economic Geography at the Department of Geography of Ghent University. He is also a Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Science and Technology (Department of Geography) of the University of Tartu (Estonia), an appointed Visiting Professor/Foreign Expert at the Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics (NUAA), College of Civil Aviation, and an Associate Director of the Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) Research Network. He is also an Honorary Professor in the School of Geography at The University of Nottingham. Since January 1, 2016 he is the editor-in-chief of Journal of Transport Geography, a leading interdisciplinary journal focusing on the geographical dimensions of transport, travel and mobility.

All are welcome! A reception will be organised after the talk. Lecture will be one hour and followed by Q&A.