I am talking about competition between a car-owning lifestyle and a set of alternatives that add up to a whole lifestyle, creating a complete 'mobility package' attractive enough to make car ownership feel optional.
In places like Manhattan or Hong Kong or the inner cities of Zurich, Paris, Tokyo or London a lifestyle without your own car is already an attractive option even for wealthy people. But could we extend the range of places where not having a car is an excellent lifestyle choice? Can we make car use more provisional and less locked-in to our liefstyles and our urban systems? How?
Here is a presentation I gave last year which tackles some of these issues in a non-technical way.
Under-appreciated and neglected urban transport policy opportunities (and reframing competition in urban transport)
In the presentation above I claim that the following issues in urban transport are under-appreciated and neglected.
- Public transport integration and comprehensiveness;
- Short trips between 1 and 4 km;
- Taxis and car-sharing;
- Car ownership cost structures;
- Parking policy.
My central messages were:
- Urban transport policy for liveable cities can and should dare to compete successfully with car ownership.
- Seeing the car-owning lifestyle as our primary competition expands and enriches our policy horizons.
- Imagining excellent mobility without owning a car prompts a more critical look at car ownership arrangements.
I think this line of thinking offers hope for gradually offering a real alternative to the car-owning lifestyle. It brings together themes I have written about before, here, here and here. People who have been thinking along similar lines include Robin Chase, Chris Bradshaw, Eric Britton, the late Bill Mitchell, and Susan Zielinski.
For more detail on this approach to competing with cars see my working paper on the issue.