The role of transport in supporting the autonomy of young adults

Alexa Reynolds Delbosc, Dianne Anne Vella-Brodrick

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17 Citations (Scopus)


This study explored the relationship between transport independence and autonomy among young people. A sample of 543 participants aged between 17 and 25 years (M = 21.5, SD = 2.4) completed an online survey asking about well-being, psychological autonomy, transport independence and transport disadvantage. It was predicted that transport independence would be positively related to psychological autonomy and enhanced well-being, whereas transport disadvantage would be inversely related. The data were analysed using Structural Equation Modelling. Consistent with the study hypothesis, it was found that transport independence through car ownership and low levels of transport disadvantage were associated with high levels of psychological autonomy which was strongly correlated with well-being. This suggested that having the freedom and means to get around and visit friends, go to work or school and to participate in leisure activities may provide young people with a sense of autonomy and that this may lead to enhanced well-being.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97 - 105
Number of pages9
JournalTransportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015


  • Young adults
  • Autonomy
  • Transport disadvantage
  • Well-being

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