A recent study finds that a majority of Swiss see a future beyond car ownership.
This new post-car world, set out by a team of geographers, architects, urbanists, economists, engineers, and political and social scientists, asked the public to imagine living in a society that would choose to live car free, not out of environmental constraints or fuel shortages, but freely.
According to the team, a world without cars is now far more plausible than it was 20 years ago.
Jacques Lévy, a geographer at EPFL who is part of the team, says: “We are shifting from a world centred on an object, where the car is part of what we own, an object of myth and dreams, to a world of services and different ways to move around.”
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Lévy says: “We are at a point where the balance is shifting. Urban residents are realising that cars bring noise and air pollution, and that fine particulates kill. Some policies are changing, but the Swiss constitution remains contradictory on the subject. It calls for sustainable development, while ensuring liberty of choice of transport. But should transport rights trump other rights, health rights in particular?”
Add to this, questions around the overall health of the planet, something not mentioned in the EPFL article.
Reality has caught up with the car ownership dream. “It’s difficult to dream of the iconic image of a solitary driver next to the Grand Canyon presented in car adverts, when cars are stuck in traffic, looked over by multiple cameras, and speed and fatigue detectors. In reality, drivers are expected to respond like machines, ready to simultaneously absorb lots of information. This is far from the pleasure of driving fast on open roads”, says Lévy.
The newspaper Le Matin did a poll on Facebook to further test public opinion. It asked: Could you completely do without a car? Of the 675 responding, 39% said yes, 6% were undecided, and 54% said they couldn’t. The anger emoticon was only used three times.
What do you think?