Accepted paper:

"Quanlitative" study of driving habits in Ljubljana: ethodological challenges


Dan Podjed (ZRC SAZU)

Paper short abstract:

The research, presented in this paper, supplements qualitative (ethnographic) findings with quantitative approaches, e.g. the measurement of driving styles with the help of telematics solutions. In this way we obtain a more precise answer to the question of how do people in Ljubljana actually drive.

Paper long abstract:

How do people use their vehicles in an urban context? How can we analyse and influence their driving habits? These are two key questions of a 3-year interdisciplinary applied research project "DriveGreen: Development of an eco-driving application for a transition to a low-carbon society." The project, which started with a 6-month study in Ljubljana, attempts to fill a void in anthropology, which has thus far only partially addressed issues to do with traffic. Simultaneously, it tries to supplement qualitative ethnographic findings, collected by observations of traffic, interviews, video-ethnography and "participant driving" (i.e. participant observation in vehicles), with quantitative approaches, e.g. the measurement of behaviour in traffic with the help of telematics solutions, which allow us to analyse fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, and monitor the key elements of a driving style (acceleration, braking, idling, driving speed, etc.). The multi-faceted study helps researchers explain in greater detail exactly how the "driving habitus" of the city is formed by individuals and influenced by external factors, e.g. regulations and penalties, traffic conditions, climate, and infrastructure. Such interdisciplinary studies are challenging for research teams, especially due to the inclusion of different scientific disciplines, each with its own requirements, expectations, and scientific rigor. This paper pinpoints and highlights the main methodological challenges presented by such "quanlitative" or "mixed" research approaches. It also explains how interdisciplinary findings about driving can be used and interpreted in the most productive way (also as a foundation for developmental procedures) and how these approaches can be transferred to other similar projects in national and international contexts.

panel Urba003
Ethnographies of urban public spaces