Opportunities and barriers for reducing personal air-travel

© bady abbas / 2021

© bady abbas / 2021

Today only few technological solutions for decarbonising global air traffic exist and behavioural change seems to be the most promising solution in the short term. Dr. Ralph Hansmann, EPFL & ETH Zürich, and Prof. Claudia R. Binder, EPFL, investigated the role of restrictions, options and justifications in reducing personal air-travel.

An integrative environmental behavior model was applied in an online survey to investigate the determinants of intentions to reduce personal air travel and corresponding perceived restrictions and options among participants in Switzerland (N = 1206). Flying habits emerged as the most powerful predictor of air travel intentions, followed by prescriptive social norms, general environmental attitudes, flight-specific personal norms, and acceptance of general justifications for environmentally negative behavior. The overall model achieved substantial explanative power (multiple R = 0.75).

Availability of alternative means of transportation was most frequently mentioned as requirement for reducing personal flights, and participants proposed replacing physical business meetings with online formats. Trains were often proposed as alternative transportation mode; however, concerns regarding travel duration and price constrain their use. Faster connections, attractive pricing, and measures facilitating the enjoyment of lengthier travel times could help reduce the number of flights and contribute toward deceleration of life.


We thank Swiss Mobiliar for supporting this research.


Hansmann R. & Binder C. R. (2021). Reducing personal air-travel: Restrictions, options and the role of justifications. Transportation Research Part D 96