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When we talk about sustainable mobility, we usually picture building and improving public transport, promoting bike use and walking and making cars more efficient. However, this is not enough. Car use has to be reduced in order to attain a truly sustainable mobility.
It’s not about reducing car use for it’s own sake. The social costs of driving will only be reduced if we drive less. We are talking about costs like pollution, emissions, traffic, time loss, accidents, health issues, and lack of public space. These are all costs that excessive car use imposes on society. Unless car users assume the costs they generate, everyone else is paying them, which is pretty unfair. Besides, governments explicitly support car use through public policy, making the situation less equitable with each cent spent on car infrastructure.
The first step towards a more sustainable mobility should be to acknowledge that car use is costly for everyone. Only that way will its reduction be understood as necessary and complementary to the improvement of conditions for walking, cycling and public transport.
This video was made by ITDP-Mexico and Emigre Film to raise awareness about the hidden costs of automobile use and how this affects our cities. It is part of a larger project on car use reduction sponsored by the British Embassy in Mexico. For more information on this project, you can visit ITDP-Mexico’s webpage to download the studies.