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Why is it so difficult to get people out of their cars (and is it all our fault)?

Mackett, RL; (2009) Why is it so difficult to get people out of their cars (and is it all our fault)? In: (Proceedings) Universities Transport Studies Group Annual Conference, 2009, held at UCL.

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Abstract

5-7 January 2009 The car bestows many benefits on users, but there are reasons to consider whether the growth in car use can be reduced. This paper examines why it is so difficult to encourage people to use alternatives to the car. It starts by showing how car use has grown in Britain while walking, cycling and bus use have declined over the past sixty years. The barriers to switching to the alternatives are considered under three headings: lack of motivation, lack of time, and difficulty in walking, cycling and using the bus. It is shown how many households have adopted a lifestyle that is car oriented; in some cases people have chosen to live in locations where their needs can only be met by using the car. The methodology used to forecast and appraise new transport schemes is examined. It is found to be biased towards the car, mainly because it uses ‘economic efficiency’ as the overriding criterion. It is argued that other factors such as social, environmental and health should be given equivalent weighting when assessing transport schemes. Transport professionals have been responsible for the development and use of this methodology which has not changed significantly in forty years. The paper concludes by calling upon transport researchers to lead a paradigm shift so the transport schemes are developed using a methodology that is more appropriate for the 21st Century, by taking into account a wider range of factors reflecting various aspects of quality of life.

Type:Proceedings paper
Title:Why is it so difficult to get people out of their cars (and is it all our fault)?
Event:Universities Transport Studies Group Annual Conference, 2009, held at UCL
Dates:2009-01-05 - 2009-01-07
UCL classification:UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering

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