Although it doesn't look like it when I walk along Streatham High Road, car use is declining in the advanced west. And that's not just advanced West London! Though there are enough Chelsea Tractors and Chiswick Cayenne's around to keep the car industry going for a few years! Yet on several key dimensions we are driving less. Partly it's the eye watering cost of driving. Having got rid of my own car three years ago I have never missed it and have a lot more spare cash to spend on other frivolities.
1. In the US, (yes the US), Britain, Germany, Japan and France we are reaching driving saturation. Total distance driven and trips per driver is falling as less people motor to work.
2. Young people are less likely to own cars and the age of acquiring a licence is increasing. In the 80's many young people learned at 17. I learned to drive at 37 but I an outlier!
3. Public Transport is better. More governments are charging for roads and green polices target the mode which is responsible for 75% of all journeys. Company car perks are not so lucrative.
In any case innovation in on demand access to cars from car clubs to online individual rentals are making it less attractive to have a depreciating lump of metal outside. Parking has also become much more expensive. So is it the end for car companies? Well Vauxhall have just put their Luton plant in one week suspension because of falling sales. We have reached the ear of "peak car".
Motor manufacturers will innovate with smaller and more efficient cars and electric cars which can run on much smaller batteries; and then there are driverless cars. In the medium term emerging markets are anxious to dump their bikes for cars. More cars were sold in China than the US in 2010, and Indonesia has seen car ownership grow 17%. In the West we are getting on our bikes more. In London more people would cycle if it there were more cycle paths. Talking of which, if Andrew Mitchell can swear at careless white van men as well as he can police officers, more people can take to the bus lane!
A trackback is a method for Web authors to request notification when somebody links to one of their documents. This enables authors to keep track of who is linking, and so referring, to their articles. Some weblog software programs, such as Wordpress, Drupal and Movable Type, support automatic pingbacks where all the links in a published article can be pinged when the article is published. The term is used colloquially for any kind of linkback.