Why People Don't Drive Cars
WILKINSON D, The Scottish Office, UK
The car now dominates our transport systems, our travel patterns and our way of life. 62% of the population of Scotland holds a driving licence and the same proportion of households have use of a car. Almost two thirds of all journeys in Scotland are made
The car now dominates our transport systems, our travel patterns and our way of life. 62% of the population of Scotland holds a driving licence and the same proportion of households have use of a car. Almost two thirds of all journeys in Scotland are made by car and some sections of the population are almost entirely dependent on the car for land based travel, rarely using alternative modes of transport.
This level of car dependence brings a number of challenges for government policy, which seeks to support a strong economy, a clean environment and an inclusive society. The government's transport policy agenda, which is now being pursued through the new Scottish Parliament, was set out in the government White Paper "Travel Choices for Scotland". A key element of the Action Plan within that document is to improve education and "to increase the awareness of the adult population about benefits to health and the environment of a reduced dependency on the car".
One way forward is to develop travel and transport awareness campaigns. In order to inform The Scottish Office on how this might be progressed, research was commissioned to inform the development of such campaigns. A significant minority - 38% - of the adult Scottish population do not drive and do not own a car; even among the group most likely to drive - those in their 30s and 40s - a quarter do not hold a licance. For many people reasons for this are economic and health related, though there is thought to be a sub-set - probably numerically very small - who could afford a car, and are fit to drive, but who choose not to.
This group is of particular interest in developing the Government's thinking about how to devise strategies for encouraging alternative mode choices e.g. in targeting education and public awareness campaigns. The research which is the subject of this paper was commissioned to investigate this group in more depth in order to better understand the reasons for their choices and how they adapt to non-car ownership.
Association for European Transport