Young people travelling through the world of science and everyday life

UNTERWEGS [on the go, on the move, on the road, on the way, out and about] had the objective to close knowledge gaps regarding the mobility behaviour of youths as well as their attitude to mobility and to evaluate to what extent information can help to direct behaviour and attitudes towards an environmentally friendly mobility which is beneficial to health.

The hypotheses is that youths are more willing to change than adults and that interventions to raise their awareness have a comparatively strong impact on them, even if some of these effects only become obvious when teenagers have turned adults and have the choice to use a car or to continue to use environmentally friendly modes of transport.

Long term cooperation with the schools involved was intended to observe the mobility behaviour (panel). The research process was used to help students in the age group 12 to 14 to better understand science and academic research. The subject ‘mobility’ is ideal for this purpose because it immediately relates to everyday experiences.

The research questions, a survey design suitable for both age groups and genders and the content of the mobility intervention were developed in cooperation with the students; academic guidance was provided for the data gathering, data analysis and the presentation of the results. The survey design was based on a before-after with control group experiment; pupils in two classes investigated their mobility behaviour twice. One class was used as control group. Between the surveys, pupils of the other class attended “Intervention Workshops”, discussing the effects of traffic and developing strategies for a sustainable mobility. Making them think about their own behaviour and alternatives to this behaviour generated an impulse; in the second survey the effect of this impulse was measured.

Since gender-specific and location-specific differences were of interest, four schools had been selected for this cooperation: one in a central location in a big city (Vienna, 2nd district), one at the outskirts of a big city (Vienna, 13th district) and two in more rural areas (Tulln in Austria, Itzehoe in Germany).

This project has been completed.