For reasons that I don’t fully understand people equate car ownership with freedom (I primarily see it as an increase in transportation costs). As a result a lot of people are hesitant to give up the cars as they perceive their supposed freedom of mobility as a necessity.
Thankfully some new research has come out from Latitude Research that shows how the use of mobile phones combined with transit can get people out of their cars and onto the streets.
The results of the study indicate that, while users value the freedom and control a car provides, mobile information solutions could replicate this sense of autonomy without needing to own a car—primarily by helping users to make informed, in-the-moment decisions about what’s available near them and the best ways to get around. “Real-time and personalized transit information has the ability to make public transit a more flexible, equitable, and enjoyable experience, thus minimizing the perceived experience gap between car ownership and other modes of transit typically thought less convenient or accessible by would-be users,” explains Marina Miloslavsky, study lead and Senior Research Analyst at Latitude.
Study participants—18 regular car users who agreed to go car-free for one week—experienced unexpected benefits as a result of re-thinking their daily transit. Two-thirds reported that the car-free week exposed them to new things, and twice as many participants felt more integrated into their communities than had expected to before the study week, with the majority also citing health and money-saving reasons to reduce their reliance on driving.