Most transport experts and critics of current transport policy argue that a key to resolving the conflict between growth in the demand for car travel and its adverse consequences - increasing danger, road congestion, air and noise pollution, and so on - lies in investing heavily in bus and rail. The expectation is that, given sufficient improvement in the quality of these modes, car users can be encouraged to return to them, or will have less grounds for opposing central or local government introducing measures with this objective. In this paper, the author shows that policy initiatives based on such a premise will achieve little of the intended transfer. It is demonstrated that, in the main, growth in car use has not come about as a result of more people gaining access to a car, and then comparing bus and rail unfavourably with it and for this reason no longer wishing to use them. Statistics on trends in patterns of travel are used to show that most change has come about from newly-generated car travel. Only on commuting and long distance inter-city journeys can public transport - existing or improved - hold out the prospect of bringing about the required modal shift, but that will continue to be far more attributable to the outcome of parking restrictions and the deterrence of congested roads than to car owners being 'won over' by the attractions of improved services. The implications of this evidence for the development of transport policy will be discussed. (A) For the covering abstract see IRRD 866258.


  • English

Media Info

  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: p. 209-19

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00668677
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport Research Laboratory
  • ISBN: 0-86050-259-7
  • Files: ITRD, ATRI
  • Created Date: Nov 16 1994 12:00AM