Behaviour of individuals plays a major role for achieving a more sustainable mobility system. Since travel behaviour is strongly habitual (e.g. Klöckner,

2012), life course events and related context changes provide an opportunity for behavioural change (Franke 2001, Lanzendorf, 2003). Evidence suggests that in the period of these life course events, individuals are more attentive to the provision of information on alternative transport modes, e.g. provided by mobility management initiatives.

For improving basic knowledge to design targeted mobility management, this study investigates the effects of life course events on mobility behaviour in a life-span perspective. The data (N=4652) was gathered with a standardized, retrospective survey of three generations (students, parents, grandparents) in Dortmund. The questionnaire covers data from residential mobility, holiday travel, daily mobility and preferences toward travel modes as well as the availability of a driving license and vehicle ownership during several periods of life.

Until now to our knowledge previous studies mainly focused on single life events and their impacts on travel. With this paper, however, we take a more comprehensive view for our analysis and focus on the following research questions: (1) Which life course events affect travel mode change and how do these life course events interact? (2) What are the differences between generations in respect of the effect of life course events and the change of travel behaviour?

Results indicate that changes in travel modes often occur simultaneously with life events. In relatively stable educational stages (e.g. within school, apprenticeship) travel behaviour changes less frequently than in other phases of life (e.g., the transitions between school and apprenticeship or between apprenticeship and the first job). Furthermore, for the grandparents’ generation a significant change in car ownership, motorcycle ownership and car availability is observed for life events with high readjustment needs (e.g. childbirth; Holmes & Rahe, 1967) compared to those with low readjustment needs (e.g. change in social activities). Logistic regression reveals that personal life events of all three generations, such as the first and second childbirth, a marriage, a separation or a residential relocation consequently to studies, apprenticeship, work and already mentioned personal events affect the car purchase significantly. Overall, the results indicate that the weakening of habits and the corresponding information search might be stronger with some life events than with others. Mobility management initiatives, therefore, should tailor their interventions more to these events than to others, especially to those events related with car purchase.