Video: Reducing Car Use to Encourage Sustainable Mobility


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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.


Image courtesy of rutlo on flickr

  • fdconsult

    All good stuff, but what’s the British Embassy doing sponsoring a large programme on car use reduction? No mandate from the British ‘stop the war on the motorist’ government, that’s for sure  – can we import some of the policies we are trying to export? 

  • ScaredAmoeba

    Why are people so incapable of getting things right? Instead, so many people spend their lives getting things backwards. To the informed, it’s the external costs of motoring foisted on the rest of us. Whereas with motorists [or rather it seems to be most motorists], so many think [or claim] that they pay more than their fair share, which is of course quite untrue. Sadly, this imaginary wrong makes some drivers angry, which makes some of them take revenge against pedestrians and cyclists ‘guilty’ for this imaginary injustice.

    Driven to Kill: Vehicles as Weapons – J Peter. Rothe University of
    Alberta associate professor of Public Health J. Peter Rothe
    researched just this topic for his book. Rothe writes about
    intentional violence of all types aided by automobile. A central
    theme of this book, according to Dr Rothe, is that “police
    investigations are not engaged on the assumption that a driver
    deliberately uses his vehicle as a weapon for maiming or killing a
    pedestrian, cyclist, or other roadway users.”

    He has a chapter on violence against cyclists in particular, violence
    which is motivated by a motorist’s feeling of entitlement to the
    road and irritation that cyclists don’t pay a mythical “road tax”
    amongst other imagined sins and shortcomings. “A ‘might is right’
    mentality erupts in some drivers,” Rothe writes, “that pushes
    them to discipline [cyclists], to teach them a lesson, which
    sometimes means steering their cars into bikes, pulling into the
    bikers paths, or purposely swerving into marked bike lanes.”

  • wheelchairs

    It’s sometimes hard to believe that our technology has developed so fast and so wide. It’s not more than just a decade ago that cell phones started to.