Why Act?

There are many perspectives on why we need to act to improve our transport systems. For some people they are fed up with congestion. Others campaign for cleaner air in the communities they live in. Businesses find recruitment of staff difficult because people can’t access their workplace or can’t afford the fares to do so. Some people think we should be more active as part of combating obesity and other public health dilemmas. Policy makers know that business as usual for the transport system will cause us to contribute excessively to global warming. We can be sure that there is not one ‘common reason’ why people might want action. What is clear however, is that carrying on as we are will make many problems worse.  How we get around matters to everyone and everyone has a stake in making it better. Designing something different together might tick many boxes. 

Why do we need to think about whether you can live in cities without needing to own a car? Society has adapted to the car such that for many it is not a luxury but a necessity.  And, once you own a car, it makes sense to use it for lots of journeys. However, cars are also expensive. Currently, more than £57bn is spent by people on just owning, insuring and maintaining a car, before even one mile is driven. Insurance premiums are rising. Cars are also not used all that much. Research has shown that a third of cars don’t move on any day and they are stationary, on average, for 95% of the day. Even during the peak, less than one in 5 cars is on the move. This suggests that there could be lots of way of providing people with access to cars without owning your own. That shift is already happening slowly in the centres of our bigger cities and in some towns and villages. Once people make that shift they also use a wider range of other travel options. However, there are lots of reasons people are attached to their cars or would find changing to alternative to their own car today quite difficult. So, whilst we see potential for change we also see barriers. That is why the question iINFUZE poses is not ‘can you live without your car?’ but ‘what would a world where people did not need to own their own cars look like?’. This requires imagining what is necessary to make the change not just possible and practicable but desirable, fun and rewarding. 

Some facts which motivate “why act”: