Last week’s poll: reducing car ownership

The UK should invest in public transport ahead of roads, according to 50 per cent of Engineer readers who took part in last week’s poll.

The poll asked for best ways to curb mass car ownership and was predicated by a report from the Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions (CREDS), which called for a government strategy to reduce the overall demand for cars.

As noted last week, suburban and rural households will likely continue to depend on personal vehicles, but the situation is different in cities where several younger people are forgoing car ownership in favour of public transport, walking, cycling, ride-hailing and car-sharing. CREDS is calling for a policy to capitalise on this trend, moving further away from the perceived norm of a car for every household.

Of the 641 respondents, 15 per cent agreed that remote working should be incentivised, and 10 per cent thought that road usage should be taxed per mile. Five per cent want subsidies for car sharing schemes and a fifth (20 per cent) opted for ‘none of the above’.

In the comments that followed, a number of respondents pointed out the practical limitations of car ownership versus public transport, including Chris Oates-Miller who said: “My commute to work takes 30 minutes by car or 1 hour 20 by bus. The bus is almost £5 return, running my car is less than £4. I won’t be using the bus too soon.”

“I live 30 miles from my work, so walking is not possible, and a bicycle is not practical, public transport would be quite difficult as not that close to a station at either end,” added James Hall. “So, to reduce road traffic we would need to come up with very low cost or free public transport to give people an incentive to not drive, if it is possible for them.”

“Until there is a viable alternative (viable includes being affordable, comfortable, timely and goes where you want to go…) you will struggle to get people out of their cars,” noted Chris.

What do you think? Your thoughts on this emotive subject are welcome below, but be aware that comments are moderated and we remind readers to familiarise themselves with our guidelines before submitting.