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‘Peak Car’ — Themes and Issues

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This editorial overview of the Special Issue on ‘Peak Car’ previews the seven papers, drawing out common themes and differences. It starts with a brief overview of the emergence and characteristics of the ‘peak car’ idea, including recent research and discussions. It draws out the key themes from each of the seven papers in turn and discusses implications for research and policy. It concludes that there is now little doubt that young peoples’ car use has reduced, but there is still doubt about how younger people will travel as they age, or how the next generation will travel; that location and settlement density effects are very important, meaning that future population distributions will be significant; and that while ‘economic’ factors are still seen to be important, elasticities with respect to price and income are falling, with signs of differential responses by population categories and location. In policy terms, it concludes that with the current level of uncertainty about future car use levels, rather than developing policy based on one forecast, we should be developing policy for a range of plausible scenarios.
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Keywords: econometric; modelling; peak car; peak travel; transport and society

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Centre for Transport Studies, University College London, London, UK 2: Joint Transport Research Centre, ITF-OECD, International Transport Forum, Paris, France

Publication date: May 1, 2013

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