Also discussed here: New Study Predicts Vehicle Travel Saturation Levels (Planetizen, Jul. 27, 2014)
Today we review a RAND report that examines and predicts car use in developed (Germany, Australia, Japan) and developing countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China), using eight factors that contribute to car use (demographics, income, geography, fuel price, alternatives, vehicle infrastructure and degree of car culture). Results indicate the most significant predictors of car use are car infrastructure and spatial dispersion leading to sprawl, not as one might expect, fuel price, availability of public transit or income, noting that Japan with the same income has ¼ the car use of the USA. The question is whether large industrial countries just beginning to embrace car use, such as China, will follow the USA or Japan (the authors predict the latter). Interestingly, in response to climate change concerns, the authors note that public policies aimed at reducing carbon fuel use and new technologies may well alter predictions made with the assumptions made with this model.
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