In cities where there is a good system of mass transportation and infrastructures allowing for increased mobility, it is no longer necessarily the norm to use private cars. Indeed, in many cities it is now possible to live, work, and study without a car. The desire to own a car is waning in popularity, with many young people choosing to spend their money on gadgets such as smartphones or travelling around the world instead of a car, a parking space, petrol, and insurance. Have we really outgrown our cars? If that is so, what does the future hold for the automobile industry?
Public vs. Private Transport
As people become more environmentally-conscious, the size of the population choosing public modes of transportation increases. A bus has an emission factor of 70g of greenhouse gas per passenger kilometre, while a car can have three times that amount. Public transport is definitely the greener form of travel, plus it can also be more convenient, economical, and quicker.
Subways and bus routes that take you exactly or near where you want to be save you from the hassle of driving and looking for a parking space, allowing you to relax and let someone else do the driving. Trains, despite occasional delays, nonetheless get you from point A to point B quickly, and you’ll no doubt agree that the cost of getting tickets is way cheaper than spending your money on petrol, tyres from NATIONAL.co.uk, tax costs, congestion charges, parking fees, service fees, and car insurance.
Urban planners have been rethinking and redesigning cities to make it more of a space for people, not cars. Parks and playgrounds have taken the place of car parks; bicycle lanes are starting to become commonplace, and ride-sharing is fast becoming popular among commuters. The transformation of cities from automobile-centric to pedestrian-friendly is steadily taking place, with tram networks due for extension in Nottingham and Birmingham.
City councils are also turning green with plans to create a more enjoyable environment for residents. Car clubs, cycle lanes, and car-free developments are just some of the ways local governments are accomplishing this goal. The challenge of urban planning now is to be able to accommodate an increasing population with a decreased dependence on cars.
The Future of the Auto Industry
Car manufacturers are trying to outdo each other in bringing driverless cars to the market. If people in big cities are able to wean themselves off the gas-guzzling automobile is this the wrong direction to take?
The answer is no. Clearly, beyond big cities cars are vital to help people get to work, shops, schools etc. The driverless car, though, could well change the face of transport – cars could become pooled transport devices, with no-one having to bear the burden of physically being behind the wheel.
Still, this is all a long way off. In cities there may well be large chunks of people who don’t need a car but there still plenty who do. Also, beyond such places the public transport network means it’s not possible to get by without your own vehicle.
Learning to drive is a key skill that gives us independence and the freedom to make our way in the world. The important lessons we take in in the theory and practical tests are still vital life skills – preparing with the key knowledge needed to set off on the road as well as awareness of the hazards and dangers such activities pose. Some people may have outgrown their car, but many more of us are as reliant as ever on our
Until Next Time… Charlotte x