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The Prospects for Future Levels of Car Access and Use

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This paper aims to build on similarities and differences in empirical findings and analytical approaches in papers in a special issue of the Transport Reviews journal on peak car. These differences are encapsulated in a new exploratory tool, which gives transparent future scenarios, at the aggregate national level. The model is based on age cohorts, with some degree of behavioural inertia, as the means of incorporating the most frequently noted age-related feature of the new trends. This is modified by different readings of the differential effects of population growth and location, immigration, and policy effects. Account is also taken of different assessments of the future track of Western Economies and of the impacts that economic factors have on travel behaviour, this being one of the core distinctions between peak car research and traditional models. Using UK data the suggestion is of a base projection for overall car use per person which is broadly stable for the next 20 years or so, falling slightly by 2036. The conclusion is that the combined effects of findings reported in this Issue are big enough to affect future transport conditions to a much more substantial extent than has been traditionally assumed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Transport Studies Unit, University of Oxford, South Parks Road Oxford, OX1 3QY, UK

Publication date: May 1, 2013

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