Presentation on theme: "Transport Geography/Transport Scotland Knowledge Exchange Day Victoria Quay, Edinburgh, 6.7.2012 Peak Car The current state of play in an unresolved evidence-based."— Presentation transcript:
Transport Geography/Transport Scotland Knowledge Exchange Day Victoria Quay, Edinburgh, Peak Car The current state of play in an unresolved evidence-based technical argument with strong, complex, policy implications Phil Goodwin Emeritus Professor of Transport Policy UCL and UWE
Train use grew rapidly until 1918 (then declined). Bus use grew rapidly until 1950 (then declined). Car use grew rapidly until....
Why has this debate happened? After decades of growth, car use levelled off and declined
In the 1970s, something like recent trends were expected 1973 DfT/TRL Car traffic forecast to 2010
But now DfT Road Traffic Forecasts are for substantial traffic increases
The trouble is, all current plans and forecasts are for growth People will drive more (at slower speeds) (+50%) travel by public transport more (+100%) travel by plane more (+1000%?) walk and cycle more ( ) and conduct an increasing proportion of their economic and leisure activity over the internet.
This does not reflect what has actually been happening since 1989, especially for car use
It seems to be similar in other advanced countries Private Car Use for six, similar in 24
An unresolved argument now 1.Blip : temporary pause due to economic conditions. Growth will restart driven by fuel price, economic growth, population. (DfT) 2.Saturation: benefit from further increases in mileage outweighed by cost. Now reached saturation level of car use. (Schipper, Metz) 3.Peak car as a turning point: car use passed its historic peak and can enter a period of long decline. (Goodwin?) (sub-themes – strength of policy influences, location of development for population increases...) All are evidence-based technical arguments
All evidence-based? So how to tell who is right? Evidence has tended to be supportive data. But research hypotheses must discriminate between the explanations. Suggested research programme in an appendix, interim results meanwhile... Look at disaggregate data where temporary economic pressure view would lead to changes in one direction, and cultural/technological shifts and policy impacts view would lead to opposite Eg demographic and income breakdown, location and timing of biggest changes...
DfT: test saying get total traffic about right in last 6 years with population, economy, fuel price alone, therefore no evidence of shift in underlying relationships or demand drivers
Most others have looked at disaggregation - recurrent theme – age and gender Work by Barbara Noble, Kiron Chatterjee & Geoff Dudley, Gordon Stokes, Kit Mitchell, David Metz, Scott Le Vine and others in UK, parallel work in USA, France, Germany, Netherlands.... Some of Gordon Stokes results....
Access to a car by age – Men Fast take up from age 17 Decline after age 50
Access to a car by age – Men Slightly slower rise peak remains to late 50s
Access to a car by age – Men Markedly slower rise peak to mid 60s Bigger % with car at 90 than at 18
Access to a car by age – Women Much lower than for men Tail off from about 45
Similar profile bit to higher peak level Access to a car by age – Women
Peak close to that for males Lengthening of peak level Access to a car by age – Women
BMW research: reduction of driving licenses by young in 5 out of 6 countries
EXPERIENCE OF TOWNS & CITIES Rich, economically successful cities with high incomes and growing population – they are the ones showing greatest reduction in car use (Hass-Klau: London, Munich, Freiburg, Paris, Strasbourg) And also reductions in medium size towns especially sustainable travel towns (Sloman et al) And much lower traffic levels in high density new urban developments. So not only because of economic pressure – but why? (...better public transport, traffic restraint, parking, charging, pedestrianisation, cycling, smarter choices, low-car redevelopment in brown-field sites.....?)
David Metz: Decoupling of distance travelled from income
Stokes: biggest falls in car use by highest income men Higher income men are driving less... And lower incomes, driving more
Decoupling – clear trend change over the period
Non Transport Trends Rise of mobile computing Cultural and attitudinal changes Health, environment as motivations Demographic changes – aging population, more single person households, later birth age, young and also empty nesters going back to city, richer urban tourists taking over villages... Changes in images of contemporary life
Mobile internet access
A shift in the effective imagery
Love affair with the car: I love my car because….
The search for another love
Mobile communications technology also changes the value of time spent travelling Music on the move makes time pass quickly, takes away the stress, and hence reduces the disutility of travel time and the importance of speed Work on the move increases the productivity of time, and hence reduces the disutility of travel time and the importance of speed
The question for public policy: what to do if there are contested, defensible, evidence-based, possible futures Traffic growth will soon start up again... or remain stable at about the present levels... or reversing historic trend, downturn continues.... My view: its more than temporary economic pressure, but evidence is still disputed and in spite of very active current research, there is unlikely to be a consensus in the next couple of years. Need to take fundamental change in the trends seriously. Therefore narrow high growth-low growth sensitivity tests are not good enough; appraisal scenarios needed meanwhile.
Interim Appraisal Scenarios (in advance of consensus forecasts)
Appendix Testing the Hypotheses (suggestions to Independent Transport Commission in response to their Call for Evidence on Road to Rail) Phil Goodwin June 2012