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RAC

Choices and alternatives

If motorists are to change their behaviour, they have three alternatives – change their mode of transport (walk, cycle, public transport), buy a more environmentally friendly car, or re-order their lives to reduce their reliance on their car.

Faced with this, motorists are very clear about what they think needs to happen, and where the responsibility for stimulating change lies.

The latest survey shows that people would find it very difficult to change their lifestyle without a car, reflecting findings from surveys conducted in 2006, 2007 and earlier in 2008.

Finding ways of influencing behaviours in the face of significant barriers to change will be no easy task.

Nearly three in four motorists (72%) say improvement in public transport is needed now if car dependency is to reduce. And the demand for improvement is growing at a fast rate. The proportion of people who say they would use public transport if it were "better" has increased from 48% in 2007, to 68% in 2008.

I don't want to go down to the supermarket, get four bags of shopping, stand at the bus stop, get on a bus and not get a seat, then have to walk ten minutes at the other end. No. I get in my car, drive down there and park in the car park.

Dave, motorist from Greater London

There is a lack of consensus amongst drivers about whether "Most people in cars could use public transport instead", with as many agreeing as disagreeing. The reality is that few areas around the country have anything that approaches an integrated and comprehensive public transport system (combining railway, underground, bus, tram and/or river travel), which is capable of offering a viable alternative to the car.

Outside of towns and cities, and with the number of smaller, local shops in decline, many people simply do not have sufficient access to the range of local services they need to enable them to use their car less. And even fewer have a public transport service that could be used to commute.

RAC calls for:

  • Clear direction from Government on greener motoring. It needs to be a simple and affordable solution. In addition, messaging needs to hook motorists by showing them the money they can save and in the process reduce their CO2 emissions.

Do today's motorists know how to be 'green' in their driving?

Motorists' perspectives on the environment