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Department of Spatial Planning

Mobility Biographies: A Life-Course Approach to Travel Behaviour and Residential Choice (2012-2017)

Project goals:

In recent years, the mobility biography approach has been developed to study stability and changes in travel behaviour of individuals over their life course. Such changes are expected to become increasingly complex in the future due to societal trends such as labour market changes, individualisation and pluralisation of household and family structures. Mobility biographies have been related to three elements in the life course: household and family structures, employment, and residential biographies. Moreover, mobility biographies are related to changing lifestyle orientations and values. Over and above individual life courses, mobility biographies differ significantly from one generation to another due to changing technological, political, social or economical conditions. The project examines selected aspects of mobility biographies, including:

1.    effects of changes in the household and family structure, residential relocations and employment career transitions on car ownership, travel mode choice and travel distances

2.    inter-generational similarities and differences in residential preferences, travel attitudes and travel behaviour of young adults, their parents and grandparents

3.    effects of experience and learning in childhood (socialisation effects) on residential preferences, travel preferences and travel behaviour in later adulthood.

This is done by analysing existing, as yet unused data retrospectively collected in the Department of Transport Planning from a sample of students in spatial planning, their parents and grandparents. The content of the project as well as the methodology applied will extend current research frontiers in travel and life course studies. It will go significantly beyond the state of the art and contribute to overcoming the dominating static approaches in travel research.

The project was lead by Joachim Scheiner and Christian Holz-Rau at the transport research group, Department of Spatial Planning.


Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation),

Project numbers: HO 3262/5-1, SCHE 1692/1-1, HO3262/5-2 and SCHE 1692/1-2

Schweizer Nationalfond (SNF, Swiss National Science Foundation)

Project partners:

Fachgebiet Verkehrswesen und Verkehrsplanung (Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christian Holz-Rau, Prof. Dr. Joachim Scheiner)

Goethe University Frankfurt, Department of Human Geography, Prof. Dr. Martin Lanzendorf (

ETH Zürich, Institute for Transport Planning and Systems (IVT), Prof. Dr.-Ing. Kay W. Axhausen (

Project start and termination:

09/2012 to 09/2014, extension 05/2015 to 08/2016


Prof. Dr. Joachim Scheiner, joachim.scheinertu-dortmundde, Tel.: ++49 (0)231 755-4822



Albrecht, Janna (2023): Wohnstandortentscheidungen im wohnbiografischen Ansatz. Empirische Ergebnisse für die Familiengründungsphase und methodische Erkenntnisse einer quantitativen Erhebung. Dissertation an der TU Dortmund, Fakultät Raumplanung.

Albrecht, Janna / Scheiner, Joachim (2022): Leaving, Staying in and Returning to the Hometown. In: Raumforschung und Raumordnung 80(4), 414-433.

Seyfarth, Erik / Osterhage, Frank / Scheiner, Joachim (2021): Auch dauerhaft urban? Empirische Untersuchung kurz- und langfristiger Wohnumfeldwünsche junger Erwachsener als Beitrag zur Reurbanisierungsdebatte. In: Raumforschung und Raumordnung 79(5), 453-469.

Döring, Lisa / Kroesen, Maarten / Holz-Rau, Christian (2019): The role of parents’ mobility behavior for dynamics in car availability and commute mode use. In: Transportation 46(3), 957-994.

Albrecht, Janna / Döring, Lisa / Holz-Rau, Christian / Scheiner, Joachim (2019): Residential location choice of couples considering both partners’ residential biographies and family ties. In: Comparative Population Studies 44, 107-136.

Döring, Lisa (2018): Mobilitätsbiografien und Mobilitätssozialisation. Wiesbaden: Springer VS.

Albrecht, Janna / Holz-Rau, Christian / Scheiner, Joachim (2017): Life-course data reconstruction using complementary information taken from linked lives. In: Transportation Research Part A 104, 308-318. (doi:10.1016/j.tra.2017.03.016)

Scheiner, Joachim / Holz-Rau, Christian (Hrsg.) (2015): Räumliche Mobilität und Lebenslauf. Studien zu Mobilitätsbiografien und Mobilitätssozialisation. Wiesbaden: Springer VS.

Albrecht, Janna / Döring, Lisa / Holz-Rau, Christian / Scheiner, Joachim (2015): The relevance of the place of childhood and adolescence for residential choice in later life. A life-course and intergenerational approach. Paper presented at the 94th Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board, 11-15 January 2015, Washington, D.C.

Döring, Lisa / Albrecht, Janna / Scheiner, Joachim / Holz-Rau, Christian (2015): Mobility socialization in work trip biographies: Work trips over the life course of two generations. Paper presented at the Transportation Research Board 94th Annual Meeting, 11-15 January 2015, Washington, D.C.

Döring, Lisa / Albrecht, Janna / Scheiner, Joachim / Holz-Rau, Christian (2014): Mobility biographies in three generations – socialization effects on commute mode choice. In: Transportation Research Procedia 1(1), S. 165-176.

Scheiner, Joachim / Sicks, Kathrin / Holz-Rau, Christian (2014): Generationsübergreifende Mobilitätsbiografien – Dokumentation der Datengrundlage. Eine Befragung unter Studierenden, ihren Eltern und Großeltern. Raum und Mobilität – Arbeitspapiere des Fachgebiets Verkehrswesen und Verkehrsplanung 29. Dortmund.

Scheiner, Joachim / Holz-Rau, Christian (2013): Changes in travel mode choice after residential relocation: a contribution to mobility biographies. In: Transportation 40(2), S. 431-458.

Scheiner, Joachim / Holz-Rau, Christian (2013): A comprehensive study of life course, cohort, and period effects on changes in travel mode use. In: Transportation Research Part A 47, S. 167-181.