Reducing Car Dependence: Lessons from Western Europe and the USA

Reliance on the automobile for the majority of trips contributes to costly trends like pollution, oil dependence, and traffic congestion. City, regional, and national governments have the goal to increase the sustainability of their transport systems. This presentation investigates the interplay between individual travel behaviour, transport policies, and the sustainability of transport systems through examples from Western Europe and the USA. The presentation highlights mutually reinforcing transport and land use policies that have made car use slower, less convenient, and more costly, while increasing the safety, convenience, and feasibility of walking, cycling, and public transport. The presentation shows that it is possible to reduce car dependence even in affluent societies with high levels of car ownership and high expectations for quality of travel.