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Activity–Travel Behaviour of Non-Workers in Bangalore City

Much has been said about the activity-travel behaviour of people who are employed; their movements and activities are also more predictable. But research, in other nations, has shown that non-workers like housewives and our elderly folk also have a significant bearing on the infrastructure demands in a city. India too can benefit from an understanding of how our people travel and go about their daily activities and two researchers from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore have done just that.

M. Manoj and Ashish Verma from the Civil Engineering Department at the IISc, Bangalore have performed an exploratory and statistical study on the non-workers from Bangalore City. The study summarises the socio-demographic characteristics as well as the activity–travel behaviour of non-workers using primary activity–travel survey data from a carefully selected sample of over 2000 households. Some of the parameters that have been analysed in the study include the time spent on different activities throughout the day, the preferred mode of transportation, the propensity to chain several tasks one after the other on a particular outing, stop-making behaviour and a daily pattern around the most preferred time of undertaking these activities.

The key takeaways from the analysis show that non-workers in Bangalore city have lower activity participation level, higher dependency on walking, lower trip chaining tendency, and a distinct time-of-day preference for departing to activity locations as compared to other developed nations around the world. Household socio-demographics, individual’s role in the family, and land use attributes have a major impact on the shopping behaviour, recreational activity and mode of transportation. The time of the day preferred for travel depends heavily on the people accompanying the non-workers in the trip and shows a strong correlation with the timing of entertainment programmes on television. A large section of the sample prefers late mornings for travel and shopping as it aligns well with the home-maintenance priorities.

Using these insights the researchers have done a thorough analysis of the policy and planning implications of this study and listed some useful measures that could be adopted by our civic bodies. The high dependency on vehicle ownership suggests that bringing activity locations closer to the residential neighbourhoods of individuals might encourage people to participate in more activities. Private vehicle restraint measures such as parking restrictions might be included for encouraging out-of-home activity participation among non-workers in a sustainable way. People have been shown to spend an inordinate amount of time watching TV; neighbourhood-level measures such as creation of green spaces and recreational activity centres might be considered for increasing the out-of-home activity participation level of non-workers.

To restrain the use of private modes of transportation, increased vehicle ownership and emission taxes, elevated parking charges, parking regulation and congestion charging may be considered in tandem with campaigns that targets the high-income group individuals for promoting the use of sustainable transport modes among them. Since the non-worker group includes a large number of elderly people and females who take care of household obligations, future urban development strategy may include bringing shopping locations and schools closer to residential neighbourhoods. Also, provision of safe, continuous, and adequate pedestrian infrastructure for accessing those facilities can promote ‘active and happier’ ageing among the older populace.

Contact: +91-80-2293 2329; ashishv@civil.iisc.ernet.in

About the researcher: Dr. Ashish Verma is an Assistant Professor at the Dept. of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. M Manoj is a PhD student in the same department.

Website: http://civil.iisc.ernet.in/~ashishv/