The way we choose and use cars is changing. In many of our towns and cities it is not necessary to own a car. Shared mobility – using a mix of car club cars, 2+ car sharing (sometimes called ride sharing), shared bikes and public transport – is a viable alternative to owning a car.
Smart technology – apps, smartcards, online booking systems and mobile phones – have made choosing, booking and using shared transport easier, so that access to transport has become much more important than owning cars as assets.
Research has shown for many young people car ownership is no longer an aspiration or universal goal. Patterns of car use and ownership have also responded to rising fuel prices and other cost increases in insurance, servicing and parking. The recession had a marked impact on car use, while other factors such as climate change, have led to an increasing number of people making lifestyle changes that reduce their energy consumption and carbon emissions.
Shared transport can help reduce the environmental impact of the car, but in moving forward towards a low carbon Britain, we need to closely consider how the car best fits into policy and strategy in the future, especially regarding rural and urban transport, improving air quality and land-use planning.