A Case Study of the Development of Car Dependence in Teenagers
LYONS Gand SWlNBANK S J, University of Southampton, UK
Substantial resource and research effort is being directed towards encouraging and developing a more sustainable transport system and understanding and influencing the choice between the use of the private car and other forms of transport. In general the
Substantial resource and research effort is being directed towards encouraging and developing a more sustainable transport system and understanding and influencing the choice between the use of the private car and other forms of transport. In general the objective is implicitly to influence the mode choice decisions of existing, established car users. The work detailed in this paper stems from the premise that attempts to influence such established behaviour, particularly once an individual has purchased a private car, will yield limited returns. Car dependence shapes many adults' present lifestyles to the point of being, or at least appearing, irrevocable.
"At the time of first purchase, the car may be seen as a luxury. However, once bought, it encourages changes in behaviour and circumstances which in effect turn it into a necessity. Car dependence grows, rather than simple existing." (Goodwin et al, 1995)
The growth of car dependence begins even before the point of car purchase with many people of all ages dependent as car passengers. Ownership serves to reinforce and promote dependence. By considering the travel behaviour of young people up to the age of seventeen there is the potential to gain a better understanding of the formative factors that influence and shape young people's longer term travel behaviour and car dependence. It may subsequently be possible to develop policies and practices that aim to instil car independent travel behaviour at an impressionable age that could then serve to resist the drift into car dependence beyond the landmark of the driving test.
This paper reports on a survey of young people's travel behaviour, opinions and aspirations conducted at two secondary schools. A questionnaire was distributed to some 1000 pupils aged between 11 and 17 at a suburban comprehensive school and a rural private school.
Association for European Transport