Greener travel isn’t just about cleaner cars, says CarPlus
Government policy should encourage the trend towards reduced car use, with research showing this is a more effective way to cut energy use than swapping to a more efficient vehicle, according to CarPlus.
Speaking at a recent Westminster Forum event, CarPlus executive director, Alistair Kirkbride, pointed to Department for Transport statistics, which show motorists are progressively travelling less, covering fewer miles and spending less hours driving, as a consistent trend over the last 20 years. Meanwhile, a recent study using M.O.T. data had revealed that traffic levels had stagnated since the Millennium.
Kirkbride said the Government’s new Industrial Strategy doesn’t address this trend, adding that while measures to clean up cars are correct, there is no policy in place to change the public’s behaviour and accelerate changing mobility trends.
CarPlus is calling for a wider approach to reducing energy use from transport. The company wants to see ‘mobility accounts’, similar to London’s Oyster card, becoming more common to enable the public to use multiple modes of transport. It is also suggesting that scrappage schemes should offer credits for these multi-modal mobility schemes, in lieu of money towards another car.
As most traffic growth has been on motorways, the company is also questioning whether electric vehicle charging points should be installed along major routes. Its argument is that these are journeys which could be made via railways, or that businesses could use teleconferencing instead.
“There are already social trends [making people drive less],” he said. “So where’s the policy to accelerate those social trends to reduce the amount that people are having to drive? I would suggest that policies to ease congestion by unblocking road bottlenecks and building big roads isn’t going to help. We know, we don’t have to learn again, that solving congestion just moves it to somewhere else.”