Smarter Choices for Less Car Use

The Effects of Smarter Choice Programmes in the Sustainable Travel Towns: Summary Report (55 page pdf, Transport for Quality of Life Ltd, Feb, 2010)

The study reviewed today has some very interesting statistics on the results of a “Smarter Choice” program implemented in three UK towns to reduce car use. The greatest reductions came from fewer long distance leisure trips.

Key Quotes:

Key Features of Smarter Choice Program:

  • “development of a strong brand identity;
  • a  large-scale personal travel planning programme;
  • travel awareness campaigns;
  • cycling and walking promotion;
  • public transport information and marketing;
  • school travel planning;
  • workplace travel planning”

“the biggest reduction in car distance travelled (hence traffic) was from medium-length and longer trips.. the biggest reduction in car driver distance came from changes to leisure trips, then shopping and work-related business”

“The biggest falls in car driver mode share among groups either at a point of change in their lives <job change, beginning university etc> or on a reduced income..a smaller per head reduction in car trips by those in full-time work, though this still constituted 40% of the total reduction”

Car driver trips per resident of the three towns taken together fell by 9% between 2004 and 2008, whilst car driver distance per resident fell by 5%~7%”

“travel behaviour change in the towns involved a combination of mode shift (with unchanged destination); switch of destination and mode (e.g. replacing a medium-length car trip with a shorter journey by foot, bike or bus); and trip evaporation (not making a trip at all).”

“Any measures that reduce traffic congestion have the potential to enable traffic to move faster, and therefore can induce more traffic, which will reduce the benefits”

“reductions in car driver mileage by existing residents provided the capacity to absorb population growth..and employment growth without increasing congestion”

“on major roads, where through traffic (or trips by non-residents) may have represented as much as half, or more, of total traffic volume.. 5%~7% reduction in mileage as a car driver by residents would result in an observable reduction in car traffic of only 2.5-3.5%”

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