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Many Brits won't give up their cars, even for the environment

Concern for the environment is the least popular reason to switch from a private car to alternative modes of transport, says a new survey.

The whitepaper examines the UK's toxic relationship with the car
The whitepaper examines the UK's toxic relationship with the car

More than two fifths of British commuters would refuse to give up their car under any circumstances, according to a new study.


When asked what would convince them to switch from their private car to alternative less polluting modes of transport, the response overwhelmingly (44 per cent) was ‘nothing’.


Lack of environmental concern


The survey commissioned by transit data specialist, Ito World, found concern for the environment was the least popular response, with only one in 20 citing it as a reason to give up their private vehicle.


Improvements to public transport (accessibility and cost) each received 18 per cent of the votes, and better cycle routes and improved shared mobility options each 5 per cent.


These findings, and more, have been included in a whitepaper Kicking the UK’s car habit which examines just how toxic the UK’s relationships with the car has become. It also poses the question what it will take for commuters to evolve to embrace a cleaner, simpler transport ecosystem?


Last year, the UN warned that the UK only had 12 years to limit the climate change catastrophe creating a ripple effect on several UK cities, including London, to become zero emission zones by 2025.


More stringent legislation is already creeping in, said Ito. The UK’s Clean Air Strategy published earlier this year sets out plans to meet ambitious new targets to reduce emissions with calls for a ban on vehicles idling close to places like schools and hospitals.

"What it will take for commuters to evolve to embrace a cleaner, simpler transport ecosystem?"

So while road users may not be willing to give up their cars, they may soon have no choice, Ito World warns.


Disruption of traditional transport systems and the consequent mobility revolution has seen alternative providers entering the market offering better ways for citizens to travel.




The whitepaper sets out to demonstrate how mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) is widely recognised as a means to transform the movement of people and goods around cities, reducing people’s dependency on privately owned cars and making alternative modes of transport easily accessible.


Ito World posits that while the case for MaaS is only getting stronger, shifting behaviour will be key to unlocking an ecosystem that could change the way everyone travels.


For the service to be deployed effectively people need to experience it first-hand. A recent trial conducted by Transport for Greater Manchester TfGM did just this, giving users a glimpse into what the future of travel could look like. Six months after the trial, there was an overwhelming response from participants to bring it back, with a one quarter (26 per cent) uptick in the willingness to use public transport and one fifth (21 per cent) to cycle and walk.


“The evidence from the trial has provided fascinating insight into one of the biggest challenges we face in terms of implementing MaaS in the modern age, and with so much being done in the sector, it’s a matter of time before more trials like this are rolled out for proof of MaaS,” said Johan Herrlin, CEO of Ito World.


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