Compensatory leisure travel? The role of urban structure and lifestyle in weekend and holiday trips in Greater Copenhagen

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Compact urban development is considered a paradigm for sustainable development. However, compact cities are also characterised by high densities that implicate trade-offs such as limited access to green spaces or nature areas, or reduced air quality. People living in compact urban areas might respond to these trade-offs by ‘compensatory activities’ such as higher amounts of leisure travel. In this study, we compare the leisure travel patterns of people living in a central urban district in Copenhagen, Denmark, with those of people living in a small town in the commuter belt. The study uses a questionnaire survey, which was conducted in spring 2016, to examine the relationship between the urban structure of people’s residential location and their leisure travel patterns, and whether this relationship reveals compensatory travel activities. The study applies ordinal logistic regression to investigate the influence of a set of parameters on frequency of longer weekend trips (max. 3 overnight stays), holidays (>3 overnight stays) and total number of private plane trips over the course of one year. The results show that city dwellers go more frequently on longer weekend, holiday and plane trips and choose more distant destinations compared to small town dwellers. Access to a second home and related weekend trips appear as some sort of compensatory behaviour among city dwellers; however, lifestyle and related residential choice turn out to be stronger determinants of city dwellers’ leisure travel patterns.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCase Studies on Transport Policy
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)108-117
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Research areas

  • Urban planning - small town, leisure travel, summer cottage, summer house, lifestyle, residential choice, Copenhagen, compact city, travel behaviour, commuting

ID: 213777148