This is an interesting intro to a radio programme as it actually brings up some fresh ideas on why car use is falling. It's not just cost, but also environmental awareness and a creeping feeling that cars are simply no longer cool. They are now seen as safe and fuddy-duddy, quite a contrast to the big American cars of the 50s or the classic British cars of the 60s (which I still love). I think you can extrapolate from this that the doomed electric, hybrid and other exotic fuel cars which may or not appear will be equally - or even more - uncool and safe.
Yet at the same time trams and trains are seen as increasingly cool, everybody wants them and everyone wants to use them. Even the old hobby of trainspotting's current manifestation as railway enthusiasm is cool. I wonder why?
Thanks to David Robins for the link!
The car was once the symbol of youthful cool. From James Dean through Steve McQueen to Ayrton Senna the car was a symbol of freedom, daring and sexual allure. Today the young of the western world have turned their back on the car. Half of American 17-year-olds have a driver's licence today compared with three-quarters in 1998 and in Europe car sales are down whilst public transport use is up.
Is it simply that insurance costs have rocketed for young drivers? Is it because the young remain in education for longer? Are our youth becoming more environmentally aware or is it because cars have become safe, reliable and downright dull?
In 'Costing the Earth' Tom Heap takes to the road from the Streets of San Francisco to the inner ring roads of the West Midlands to find out if the age of the car is coming to an end. He meets the marketing men, the manufacturers and the innovators struggling to retain a place in our affections for the motor car.
Producer: Martin Poyntz-Roberts.