Reducing Reliance on the Car in Rural Areas

Reducing Reliance on the Car in Rural Areas


G Stokes, Countryside Agency and Oxford Brookes University, UK



A car is often described as being a necessity in rural areas. For many, a large proportion of journeys made are dependent on a car being available, while for most others the car is relied upon as the only practicable means of transport. It is unlikely that this reliance and dependence can be reduced to the extent that car ownership will reduce greatly in rural areas.

To accept and cater for 100% car ownership and use is not a viable policy option either. There will always be a large proportion of rural residents who do not have personal access to a car, by virtue of age (young or old) or through an inability to drive, due to physical and mental constraints. In addition, many second and third household cars are acquired because of travel needs that could be served by other modes.

This paper presents a long term strategy based on facility and service provision, and the provision of transport networks and services that can ensure that choice of travel mode exists for a much larger proportion of journeys than at present. The strategy is based on developing networks for non-motorised modes and for public transport, supporting local services and local economies, and ensuring that a rural voice reviews all policy interventions that might impact on rural transport provision.


Association for European Transport