Is caring about the environment enough for sustainable mobility? An exploratory case study from South Tyrol (Italy)
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Sustainable mobility has a positive impact on quality of life, in both urban and rural contexts. Policies aimed at promoting greener travel behaviors – at European, as well as at state and regional level – require a deep knowledge of differing mobility cultures across European regions. In order to better understand the relationship between the (stated) propensity towards sustainability, reported mobility patterns and users' lifestyles in rural areas, an exploratory study was conducted in South Tyrol, a rural region in Northern Italy that strives to become a model region for sustainable alpine mobility by 2030. More specifically, an online survey on sustainable mobility was administered to the inhabitants, exploring motivations, preferred incentives and drivers that may lead towards the adoption of sustainable mobility solutions (with a focus on e-mobility). By analyzing how pro-environmental self-identity interacts with consumers' heterogeneity, results show that heterogeneity exists in the individual pro-environmental identity measure. Based also on evidence from the literature that extrinsic rewards might negatively impact intrinsic motivations to engage in a certain behavior, this study warns policy-makers of potential unintended consequences of current policy tools used to incentivize the adoption of sustainable means of transport, such as the provision of monetary incentives for electric vehicles.
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