Thomas Brindefalk Knutsson , pp. 45. DSN/School of Planning and Media Design, 2010.
This master thesis ”Urban Mobility in the 21st Century” gives an insight into the challenges that come with car usage in today’s society. Even though decision makers are trying to encourage people to use other means of transport, the car is still the predominant choice of transport for many people. With this thesis I have tried to answer the question of why people generally prefer to commute and travel by car instead of using public commuting systems.
The answers to this question are many. Different scientists have given their view of why people generally prefer to travel by car. One of the explanations is given by Zygmunt Bauman. He argues that we live in a society that demands consumption of both travel and merchandise as well as experiences. In this the car becomes the ultimate choice of transport, due to its apparent sense of speed, flexibility and safety.
This appealing sense of speed, flexibility and safety also partly explains why people prefer to use the car, instead of public commuting systems. The society we live in today is complex with many activities spanning a wide geographical area, giving the car many advantages both in flexibility and speed. The decision makers in the European Commission, the Swedish government and the British government have tried to handle this usage of the car in different ways, sometimes by encouragement in using other means of transport, and other times by hard measures like road pricing or increased tax on petroleum. When analyzing these different methods and comparing with the dominating theories on urban mobility, I found that some methods are more successful than others and also that certain methods can have side effects that are less desirable.