Phil goodwin emeritus professor of transport policy ucl and uwe
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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 technical argument with strong, complex, policy implications. Phil Goodwin Emeritus Professor of Transport Policy UCL and UWE.

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Phil goodwin emeritus professor of transport policy ucl and uwe

Transport Geography/Transport Scotland Knowledge Exchange DayVictoria Quay, Edinburgh, 6.7.2012Peak CarThe 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
Why has this debate happened? grew rapidly until 1950 (then declined). Car use grew rapidly until ....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
In the 1970s, something like grew rapidly until 1950 (then declined). Car use grew rapidly until ....recent trends were expected1973DfT/TRL Car traffic forecast to 2010



The trouble is all current plans and forecasts are for growth
The trouble is, traffic increasesall 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.



It seems to be similar in other advanced countries private car use 1990 2009 for six similar in 24
It seems to be similar in other advanced countries 1989, Private Car Use 1990-2009 for six, similar in 24


An unresolved argument now
An unresolved argument now 1989,

  • Blip: temporary pause due to economic conditions. Growth will restart driven by fuel price, economic growth, population. (DfT)

  • Saturation: benefit from further increases in mileage outweighed by cost. Now reached saturation level of car use. (Schipper, Metz)

  • 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
All ‘evidence-based’? 1989, 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 1989, 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
Most others have looked at disaggregation - 1989, recurrent theme – age and gender

Work by Barbara Noble, KironChatterjee & 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 1988 95 1995 01 2002 08
Access to a car by age – Men 1989, 1988-951995-012002-08

  • Fast take up from age 17

  • Decline after age 50


Access to a car by age men 1988 95 1995 01 2002 081
Access to a car by age – Men 1989, 1988-951995-012002-08

  • Slightly slower rise

  • ‘peak’ remains to late 50s


Access to a car by age men 1988 95 1995 01 2002 082
Access to a car by age – Men 1989, 1988-95 1995-01 2002-08

  • Markedly slower rise

  • ‘peak’ to mid 60s

  • Bigger % with car at 90 than at 18


Access to a car by age women 1988 95 1995 01 2002 08
Access to a car by age – Women 1989, 1988-951995-01 2002-08

  • Much lower than for men

  • Tail off from about 45


Access to a car by age women 1988 95 1995 01 2002 081
Access to a car by age – Women 1989, 1988-951995-012002-08

  • Similar profile bit to higher peak level


Access to a car by age women 1988 95 1995 01 2002 082
Access to a car by age – Women 1989, 1988-95 1995-01 2002-08

  • Peak close to that for males

  • Lengthening of peak level



Experience of towns cities
EXPERIENCE OF TOWNS & CITIES out of 6 countries

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’ 2004-8 (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
David Metz: ‘Decoupling out of 6 countriesof distance travelled from income’


Stokes biggest falls in car use by highest income men
Stokes: biggest falls in car use by out of 6 countrieshighest income men

  • Higher income men are driving less

  • ... And lower incomes, driving more



Non transport trends
Non Transport Trends out of 6 countries

  • 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


On line shopping
On-line shopping out of 6 countries


Mobile internet access
Mobile internet access out of 6 countries



Love affair with the car i love my car because
“Love affair with the car: I out of 6 countrieslove my car because….”


The search for another love
The search for another love out of 6 countries


Mobile communications technology also changes the value of time spent travelling
Mobile communications technology also changes the out of 6 countriesvalue 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 out of 6 countriesdo 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: it’s 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
Interim Appraisal Scenarios out of 6 countries(in advance of consensus forecasts)


Appendix
Appendix out of 6 countries

Testing the Hypotheses

(suggestions to Independent Transport Commission in response to their Call for Evidence on Road to Rail)

Phil Goodwin

June 2012

[email protected]


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