Mobility Biographies

Andy Miles, Niamh Moore, Stewart Muir,
CRESC, University of Manchester
5 year qualitative longitudinal study
 4 areas in Leeds and 4 in Manchester
 panel of 240 people
 repeat contact annually for 4 years
In transport studies:
 to add depth to cross-sectional approaches
 through consideration of panel studies versus
retrospective interviews
e.g. Lanzendorf; Scheiner; Axhausen; Frändberg
Mobility biography: the total of an individual’s longitudinal trajectories in
the mobility domain and assumes that events in these trajectories exist or,
put in other words, that at certain moments in individual’s life the daily
travel patterns, the car ownership or other mobility characteristics change
to an important degree. (Lanzendorf 2003)
Travel diary
Residential and mobility history
Life history including life diagram, timeline
and mobility history
Last week, travel and activities
[…]so how long have you lived here?
Nine years. I moved here when they were new.
Right, okay, yeah.
In fact the plasterers were still in, so nine years.
Yeah, how did you come to live here?
Well my two grandsons who were then--, they're 19 and 17 now so knock nine
years off that, live a hundred yards away and I used to look after them when
they came out of school 'cause their mum's a doctor and works funny hours.
So they'd come out of school, come to me for a glass of milk or--, and a lump
of cake and do their homework and watch a bit of television till she came
home. But of course that's long gone. But I--, I'm installed here and it's a great
area to live, I really would sell it to anybody.
Q: Right, okay, that's good.
A: Great bus services, they whizz up and down here, good shopping, my do--, I
could spit in my doctor's surgery if I leaned out of the window, there's nothing
I need. For an old girl like me on her own 'cause me sons are never, never
about, it's perfect. So I'm very happy. (4811, Female, 83, White British)
SCSB03, Female, 75, White
Yeah. [Pause] And then 19... oh, come on, 78, 48, 11... 49 right
through really to 1956 I was in secondary education, which... what can
you say about that? I enjoyed it. I was lucky, I was at an excellent
school, I had excellent teachers. I messed up my A Levels, I picked the
wrong subjects completely and failed the lot because I fell in love at
the same time. So that sent me on a path of life one way. I could’ve
gone a completely way but I didn’t. So what can I say about
secondary education?
[…] I mean that sounds fairly important, the A Levels.
[Laughs] I keep that very quiet [both laugh] and I failed my Latin and
every time I tried to take Latin again the course closes [laughs] and that
really annoys me [laughs]. [Pause] There we go. Secondary education,
very happy but failed my A Levels due to poor choices and a disastrous
love affair.
I was a good all rounder, really, at school. And I should’ve gone to
university no problem because I was in the top class and up in the top
group of five where there was very strong competition. Er, I failed my G
GCSE--, no, School Certificate Latin purely--, I could do the grammar but
I was just too darn lazy to learn the vocabulary and I’ve regretted that for
the rest of my life. (SCSB03,Female, 75, White British)
3290, female, 41, White British.
So, what’s that one?
My gran being around and then gran not being around. Will that
Yeah, that’s perfect, that’s brilliant, thank you. So was your gran--,
gran recently died or...
Not recently, but… she died just before Jake was--, was born, so she
never got to see Jake.
Right, right. Okay. But was she a big influence in your life when you
were a child then, or teenager?
Yeah, very much so.
They’re not--, they’re not a 100 per cent accurate those.
Oh, that’s alright, don’t worry. So it’s all visual kind of representation,
isn’t it? So, she was like a big support or something for you was she?
Yeah, very much so.
Okay. Right. And, what about--, I don’t know about relationships or
anything like that? I mean, I’m presuming Jake’s dad’s not around?
And has there been any other kind of things like that or...
Yeah, but they’ve all fizzled out into nothing so..
(3290, Female, 41, White British)
A: […] It’s interesting though. But it hasn’t--, it hasn’t
down. I mean I’m quite happy, but it is--, but it does
diverge. Maybe I should do a bit of a wriggle like that.
I don’t know that it’s really up and down. Have there
been any downs? Hmm. Sorry. [Pause]
Q: Tricky one.
A: No, it’s not just that. [Pause] Erm, right, I think I’ll--,
yeah, ‘cause there have been downs, you’re right.
[Whispering] [Inaudible 0:35:37] Quick downs, or a
few. [Inaudible 0:35:32] But there were some, quick
downs, a few and then it went on and it was all right.
And it’s gradually gone up, but as I say--, […] It hasn’t
really--, I don’t know--, I don’t know that that’s really-, that should be higher, maybe that should be a bit
Q: It’s kind of generally going up with a few downs and
then--, and then some splitting at the end. Diverging
A: Hmm.
Q: Okay. What’s the diverging though?
A: Erm, I’m happy with my activities but not as happy in
the house I suppose. And the downs, my brother not
being very well, which was quite hard. (2531, Female,
74, White British)
Bus, Metro, walking. That’s it. I don’t cycle either, although I’d really love to, that’s
something I regret not having done. It’s my father’s fault, he never taught me [laughs].
Did he cycle?
Yes. He had a bike and my older sister was taught to ride and he used to take her down
these really, really, really, really steep hills and she’d be screaming [laughs] so I think as
a result of that he thought it wasn’t worthwhile teaching me [laughs]. But I would’ve
loved to have learnt and it’s always harder as an adult, and now I’m frightened of
breaking my bones so [laughs].
And you never learned to drive?
Was there a reason?
Well my husband failed his test so many times and we never had a vehicle in the family,
so I think I might have been an okay driver had I been able to practice on a vehicle, but
never really thought about it until I was sort of in my 30s or 40s. And it’s kind of--, it’s
very hard then because I think the window of learning has kind of got very narrow by then
and I didn’t actually have a vehicle to practice in. My sons drive [laughs].
And your husband didn’t because he just failed too many times?
I think he failed about five times and after that, you know, you become discouraged
[laughs]. We've always organised our lives so that we do have access to transport, so it
has been a problem but you kind of work your way around it.
(SCSB02, Female, 62, White British) .
No, no transport. When I was a lad, erm… trucks--, well, quite a few cars but I wasn’t
privy to that sort of thing. Well, I can even remember the first truck as you call it going
about, erm, which it was like an invention out of this world [both laugh]. Yeah,
[inaudible 0:42:57]. I remember the first radio that somebody bought in the district where
I lived and people were coming from all over to sit there to listen to bloody music from
America. This Guantanamo Bay where they’ve got this prisoner bloody--, you know Cuba,
Guantanamo Bay, where they’ve--,
Got all these Al Qaeda prisoners and things. It used to be a big radio station where they
used to play records, picked up in Jamaica. That was the first radio that somebody had
and people were coming from all over to listen [laughs]. I think transport came into
being for me when I was probably about 18-ish when I started work, 17, 18. I started
work at this wholesalers and they had a van and they also had what you call a dray,
you pull with a horse but, erm--, which that van was absolutely necessary. You could
go all over where there’s good--, where there's some sort of road. So that’s when I came
into touch with transport as such.
Well, it--, I mean coming to this country is a new horizon in it to me. There was
transport everywhere, everybody going about in transport. It become the norm and as
such--, I’ve had about 12 cars--,
Me [laughs]. They were all--, I mean I’ve had this car--, it’s about four Volkswagen cars
I’ve had. And so transport is very important to me. If I didn’t have that car now, because
I’ve got a bit of trouble, my legs have [inaud] and I’m in all sorts of pain. If I didn’t have
that car I probably would be--, I would have to move house to somewhere that’s, you
know, got shops nearby sort of thing. It’s very important to me, transport, I’ve always
had transport. (SC825, Male, 75, Afro-Caribbean)
Andy Miles, Niamh Moore, Stewart Muir,
CRESC, University of Manchester

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