Fortaleza, with nearly two and a half million inhabitants, is the third most populous city in the Northeast region of Brazil. In the last two decades, its urbanization process has shown a troubling picture of urban mobility due to the increasing number of motor vehicles, not accompanied at the same rate and speed by the expansion of its road network. Data from the State of Ceará Department of Traffic report that the city’s fleet grew an average of seven thousand vehicles per month in 2010 and nine thousand vehicles by June 2011. Between January 2001 and September 2011, the fleet in the capital doubled, going from 379,408 to 760,747 vehicles. These figures show that the private car represents 93.70% of the fleet. In large cities, this type of vehicle can take up to 80% of the public roads, while serving roughly 20% of the population, thus precipitating a crisis of mobility. This problem motivated the conduction of a research with the community of the University of Fortaleza, the largest private university in the North and the Northeast of Brazil. 600 questionnaires were distributed in order to map the respondents’ forms of mobility. Five focus groups were conducted with a total of 38 respondents, in order to understand how the daily mobility is experienced in the city, the subjective states relevant to the movements and the reasons that support the modal choice. The results indicate that 76.6% among those older than 36 years old and 92.8% of the academic staff use the individual car as the main modal of transportation. The reasons for using the private car are many and can be both individual and collective, subjective and objective. The fear of mugging during the journey was considered the major reason, and other psychological reasons such as the feeling of freedom, power and social status were also mentioned, along with objective arguments such as to transport themselves and their objects effortlessly. The omission and negligence of the government, concretized by the lack of a good public transportation system, the improper occupation of the road system as well as poor planning of the land use in the city, which increases disproportionately in some areas to the detriment of others, also influenced the modal choice of the respondents. It is concluded that the search for solution for the mobility problems experienced by the inhabitants has privileged individual strategies of organization. However, there must be a constant focus on the urban phenomenon of Fortaleza in order to promote other forms of mobility and the consequent use of spaces around the city as a meeting point. That is why a better understanding of the urban mobility crisis in big cities like Fortaleza must involve a more detailed analysis of the various relationships between the use and occupation of the land, transport systems and road infrastructure as well as the interaction between human factor, vehicle, public space and the environment.