HOME

TheInfoList




Automobile dependency or car dependency is the concept that some city layouts cause
automobiles A car (or automobile) is a wheeled motor vehicle A motor vehicle, also known as motorized vehicle or automotive vehicle, is a self-propelled vehicle A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine that transports people or cargo. Vehicle ...

automobiles
to be favoured over alternate forms of transportation, such as
bicycles A bicycle, also called a bike or cycle, is a human-powered or motor-powered, pedal-driven, single-track vehicle A single-track vehicle is a vehicle that leaves a single ground track as it moves forward. Single-track vehicles usually have ...

bicycles
,
public transit Public transport (also known as public transportation, public transit, mass transit, or simply transit) is a system of transport Transport (in British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect A standard language (a ...

public transit
, and
walking Walking (also known as ambulation) is one of the main gait Gait is the pattern of movement Movement may refer to: Common uses * Movement (clockwork), the internal mechanism of a timepiece * Motion (physics), commonly referred to as move ...

walking
.


Overview

In many modern cities, automobiles are convenient and sometimes necessary to move easily. When it comes to automobile use, there is a spiraling effect where
traffic congestion Traffic congestion is a condition in transport that is characterised by slower speeds, longer trip times, and increased vehicular queueing Queue areas are places in which people queue ( first-come, first-served) for goods or services. Su ...

traffic congestion
produces the 'demand' for more and bigger roads and removal of 'impediments' to
traffic flow In mathematics and transportation engineering, traffic flow is the study of interactions between travellers (including pedestrians, cyclists, drivers, and their vehicles) and infrastructure (including highways, signage, and traffic control devic ...

traffic flow
. For instance,
pedestrian A pedestrian is a person travelling on foot The foot (plural: feet) is an anatomical Anatomy (Greek ''anatomē'', 'dissection') is the branch of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, inc ...

pedestrian
s, signalized crossings,
traffic lights Traffic lights, traffic signals, stoplights or robots are signalling devices positioned at road intersections, pedestrian crossings, and other locations to control flows of traffic. The world's first traffic light was a manually operated ...

traffic lights
, cyclists, and various forms of street-based public transit, such as
tram A tram (also known as a streetcar or trolley in North America) is a train that runs on tramway track Tramway track is used on tramways or light rail operations. Groove (engineering), Grooved rails (or Rail profile#Grooved rail, girder ...

tram
s. These measures make automobile use more pleasurable and advantageous at the expense of other modes of transport, so greater traffic volumes are induced. Additionally, the
urban design While many assume urban design is about the process of designing and shaping the physical features of cities A city is a large human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a comm ...
of cities adjusts to the needs of automobiles in terms of movement and space. Buildings are replaced by parking lots. Open-air shopping streets are replaced by enclosed
shopping mall A shopping mall (or simply mall) is a North American term for a large indoor shopping center A shopping center (American English) or shopping centre (Commonwealth English), also called a shopping complex, shopping arcade, shopping plaza or ga ...

shopping mall
s. Walk-in banks and fast-food stores are replaced by drive-in versions of themselves that are inconveniently located for pedestrians. Town centers with a
mixture In chemistry, a mixture is a material made up of two or more different chemical substances which are not chemically combined. A mixture is the physical combination of two or more substances in which the identities are retained and are mixed in th ...
of commercial, retail, and entertainment functions are replaced by single-function
business park A business park or office park is an area of land in which many office buildings are grouped together. The first office park opened in Mountain Brook, Alabama, in the early 1950s to avoid racial tension in city centers. Business parks are often ...
s, 'category-killer' retail boxes, and 'multiplex' entertainment complexes, each surrounded by large tracts of parking. These kinds of environments require automobiles to access them, thus inducing even more traffic onto the increased road space. This results in congestion, and the cycle above continues. Roads get ever bigger, consuming ever greater tracts of land previously used for housing, manufacturing, and other socially and economically useful purposes. Public transit becomes less viable and socially stigmatized, eventually becoming a minority form of transportation. People's choices and freedoms to live functional lives without the use of the car are greatly reduced. Such cities are automobile-dependent. Automobile dependency is seen primarily as an issue of environmental
sustainability Sustainability is the capacity to endure in a relatively ongoing way across various domains of life. In the 21st century, it refers generally to the capacity for Earth's biosphere and human civilization to co-exist. For many, sustainability is ...

sustainability
due to the consumption of
non-renewable resources A non-renewable resource (also called a finite resource) is a natural resource that cannot be readily replaced by natural means at a quick enough pace to keep up with consumption. An example is carbon-based fossil fuel. The original organic matter ...
and the production of
greenhouse gases A greenhouse gas (GHG or GhG) is a gas Gas is one of the four fundamental states of matter In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics ...

greenhouse gases
responsible for
global warming Contemporary climate change includes both the global warming caused by humans, and its impacts on Earth's weather patterns. There have been previous periods of climate change, but the current changes are more rapid than any known even ...

global warming
. It is also an issue of social and cultural sustainability. Like
gated communities In its modern form, a gated community (or walled community) is a form of residential community or housing estate containing strictly controlled entrances for pedestrians, bicycles, and automobiles, and often characterized by a closed perimeter of ...
, the private automobile produces physical separation between people and reduces the opportunities for unstructured social encounters that is a significant aspect of
social capital Social capital is "the networks of relationships among people who live and work in a particular society, enabling that society to function effectively". It involves the effective functioning of social group In the social science Soc ...
formation and maintenance in urban environments.


Negative externalities of automobile

According to the ''Handbook on estimation of external costs in the transport sector'' made by the
Delft University Delft University of Technology ( nl, Technische Universiteit Delft) also known as TU Delft, is the oldest and largest Dutch public technological university. Located in Delft Netherlands, it is consistently ranked as one of the best universities i ...
and which is the main reference in European Union for assessing the externalities of cars, the main external costs of driving a car are: * congestion and scarcity costs, *
collision In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, space and time, and the related entities of energy and force. " ...

collision
costs, *
air pollution Air pollution is the presence of substances in the atmosphere that are harmful to the health of humans and other Outline of life forms, living beings, or cause damage to the climate or to materials. There are different types of air pollutants, ...

air pollution
costs, *
noise pollution Noise pollution, also known as environmental noise Environmental noise is an accumulation of noise pollution that occurs outside. This noise can be caused by transport, industrial, and Sport, recreational activities. Noise is frequently desc ...
costs, *
climate change Contemporary climate change includes both the global warming caused by humans, and its impacts on Earth's weather patterns. There have been previous periods of climate change, but the current changes are more rapid than any known even ...
costs, * costs for nature and landscape, * costs for
water pollution Water pollution (or aquatic pollution) is the contamination of water bodies ( Lysefjord) in Norway Norway ( nb, ; nn, ; se, Norga; smj, Vuodna; sma, Nöörje), officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic countries, Nordic c ...

water pollution
, * costs for
soil pollution 280px, Excavation showing soil contamination at a disused gasworks in England. Soil contamination or soil pollution as part of land degradation is caused by the presence of xenobiotics (human-made) chemicals or other alteration in the natural so ...

soil pollution
and * costs of
energy dependency Energy independence is independence upright=1.0, Pedro I of Brazil, Pedro surrounded by a crowd in São Paulo after breaking the news of Independence of Brazil, Brazil's independence on September 7, 1822. Independence is a condition of a person, ...
.


Addressing the issue

There are a number of planning and design approaches to redressing automobile dependency, known variously as
New Urbanism New Urbanism is an urban design While many assume urban design is about the process of designing and shaping the physical features of cities A city is a large human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, lo ...

New Urbanism
,
transit-oriented development In urban planning Urban planning, also known as regional planning, town planning, city planning, or rural planning, is a technical and political process that is focused on the development and design A design is a plan or specification ...
, and
smart growth Smart growth is an urban planning Planning is the process A process is a series or set of Action (philosophy), activities that interact to produce a result; it may occur once-only or be recurrent or periodic. Things called a process include: B ...
. Most of these approaches focus on the physical
urban design While many assume urban design is about the process of designing and shaping the physical features of cities A city is a large human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a comm ...
,
urban density Urban density is a term used in urban planning Urban planning, also known as regional planning, town planning, city planning, or rural planning, is a technical and political process that is focused on the development and design A design is ...
and landuse zoning of cities.
Paul Mees Paul Mees (20 March 1961 – 19 June 2013) was an Australian academic, specialising in urban planning and public transport. Mees died on 19 June 2013, 14 months after the diagnosis of kidney cancer. He was 52. At the time of his death he was an ...
argued that investment in good public transit, centralized management by the public sector and appropriate policy priorities are more significant than issues of urban form and density. There are, of course, many who argue against a number of the details within any of the complex arguments related to this topic, particularly relationships between
urban density Urban density is a term used in urban planning Urban planning, also known as regional planning, town planning, city planning, or rural planning, is a technical and political process that is focused on the development and design A design is ...
and transit viability, or the nature of viable alternatives to automobiles that provide the same degree of flexibility and speed. There is also research into the future of automobility itself in terms of shared usage, size reduction, roadspace management and more sustainable fuel sources. Car-sharing is one example of a solution to automobile dependency. Research has shown that in the United States, services like
Zipcar Zipcar is an American car-sharing Carsharing or car sharing (AU, NZ, CA, TH, & US) or car clubs (UK) is a model of car rental A car rental, hire car, or car hire agency is a company that rents automobile A car (or automobile) is a w ...

Zipcar
, have reduced demand by about 500,000 cars. In the developing world, companies like eHi, Carrot, Zazcar and
Zoom Zoom may refer to: Technology Computing * Zoom (software), videoconferencing application * Page zooming, the ability to magnify or shrink a portion of a page on a computer display * Zooming user interface, a graphical interface allowing for ima ...
have replicated or modified Zipcar's business model to improve urban transportation to provide a broader audience with greater access to the benefits of a car and provide"last-mile" connectivity between public transportation and an individual's destination. Car sharing also reduces private vehicle ownership.


Urban sprawl and smart growth

Whether
smart growth Smart growth is an urban planning Planning is the process A process is a series or set of Action (philosophy), activities that interact to produce a result; it may occur once-only or be recurrent or periodic. Things called a process include: B ...
does or can reduce problems of automobile dependency associated with
urban sprawl Urban sprawl (also known as suburban sprawl or urban encroachment) is the unrestricted growth in many urban area An urban area, or built-up area, is a human settlement with a high population density and infrastructure of built environment. ...
has been fiercely contested for several decades. The influential study in 1989 by Peter Newman and Jeff Kenworthy compared 32 cities across North America, Australia, Europe and Asia. The study has been criticised for its methodology, but the main finding, that denser cities, particularly in
Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and Northern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the cont ...

Asia
, have lower car use than sprawling cities, particularly in
North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continen ...

North America
, has been largely accepted, but the relationship is clearer at the extremes across continents than it is within countries where conditions are more similar. Within cities, studies from across many countries (mainly in the developed world) have shown that denser urban areas with greater mixture of land use and better public transport tend to have lower car use than less dense
suburban A suburb (or suburban area or suburbia) is a commercial Commercial may refer to: * a dose of advertising conveyed through media (such as - for example - radio or television) ** Radio advertisement ** Television advertisement * (adjective ...
and
exurban An exurb (alternately: exurban area) is an area outside the typically denser inner suburban area File:Husby Kista.jpg, The Swedish suburbs of Husby/Kista/Akalla are built according to the typical city planning of the Million Programme. A s ...
residential areas. This usually holds true even after controlling for socio-economic factors such as differences in household composition and income. This does not necessarily imply that
suburban sprawl Urban sprawl (also known as suburban sprawl or urban encroachment) is the unrestricted growth in many urban area An urban area, or built-up area, is a human settlement with a high population density and infrastructure of built environment. U ...
causes high car use, however. One confounding factor, which has been the subject of many studies, is residential self-selection: people who prefer to drive tend to move towards low-density suburbs, whereas people who prefer to walk, cycle or use transit tend to move towards higher density urban areas, better served by public transport. Some studies have found that, when self-selection is controlled for, the built environment has no significant effect on travel behaviour. More recent studies using more sophisticated methodologies have generally rejected these findings: density, land use and public transport accessibility can influence travel behaviour, although social and economic factors, particularly household income, usually exert a stronger influence.


The paradox of intensification

Reviewing the evidence on
urban intensification Smart growth is an urban urban planning, planning and transportation planning, transportation theory that concentrates growth in compact walkable urban centers to avoid urban sprawl, sprawl. It also advocates compact, transit-oriented development, ...
, smart growth and their effects on automobile use, Melia et al. (2011)Melia, S., Barton, H. and Parkhurst, G. (In Press) The Paradox of Intensification. Transport Policy 18 (1)
/ref> found support for the arguments of both supporters and opponents of smart growth. Planning policies that increase
population densities Population density (in agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise tr ...

population densities
in urban areas do tend to reduce car use, but the effect is a weak one, so doubling the population density of a particular area will not halve the frequency or distance of car use. These findings led them to propose the paradox of intensification: *All other things being equal, urban intensification which increases population density will reduce per capita car use, with benefits to the global environment, but will also increase concentrations of motor traffic, worsening the local environment in those locations where it occurs. At the citywide level, it may be possible, through a range of positive measures to counteract the increases in traffic and congestion that would otherwise result from increasing population densities:
Freiburg im Breisgau Freiburg im Breisgau (; abbreviated as Freiburg i. Br. or Freiburg i. B.), commonly referred to as Freiburg, is an independent city in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. With a population of about 230,000 (as of December 31, 2018), Freiburg is the Lis ...
in Germany is one example of a city which has been more successful in reducing automobile dependency and constraining increases in traffic despite substantial increases in population density. This study also reviewed evidence on local effects of building at higher densities. At the level of the neighbourhood or individual development, positive measures (like improvements to public transport) will usually be insufficient to counteract the traffic effect of increasing population density. This leaves policy-makers with four choices: * intensify and accept the local consequences * sprawl and accept the wider consequences * a compromise with some element of both * or intensify accompanied by more direct measures such as parking restrictions, closing roads to traffic and
carfree zone Pedestrian zones (also known as auto-free zones and car-free zones, as pedestrian precincts in British English, and as pedestrian malls in the United States and Australia) are areas of a city or town reserved for pedestrian-only use and in whic ...
s.


See also

*
Accessibility (transport) In transport planning Transportation planning is the process of defining future policies, goals, investment To invest is to allocate money Image:National-Debt-Gillray.jpeg, In a 1786 James Gillray caricature, the plentiful money bags ha ...
* Automotive city *
Car costs The car internal costs are all the costs consumers pay to own and operate a car. Normally these expenditures are divided by fixed or standing costs and variable or running costs. Fixed costs are those ones which do not depend on the distance trav ...
*
Car-free movement The car-free movement is a broad, informal, emergent network of individuals and organizations, including social activists, urban planners, transportation engineers and others, brought together by a shared belief that large and/or high-speed mot ...
*
Effects of the car on societies Since the start of the twentieth century, the role of the car has become highly important though controversial. It is used throughout the world and has become the most popular mode of transport Transport (commonly used in the U.K.), or tra ...
*
Externalities of automobiles The externalities of automobiles, similarly to other economic externalities In economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; in particular, the Production (economics), production, distribution ...
* *
Jevons paradox In economics, the Jevons paradox (; sometimes Jevons' effect) occurs when technological progress or government policy increases the efficiency Efficiency is the (often measurable) ability to avoid wasting materials, energy, efforts, money, and ...
* ** *
Peak car Peak car (also peak car use or peak travel) is a hypothesis A hypothesis (plural hypotheses) is a proposed explanation An explanation is a set of statements usually constructed to describe a set of facts which clarifies the causes, co ...
*
Sedentary lifestyle A sedentary lifestyle is a lifestyle Lifestyle often refers to: * Lifestyle (sociology), the way a person lives * ''Otium'', ancient Roman concept of a lifestyle * Style of life (german: Lebensstil), dealing with the dynamics of personality L ...
*
Sustainable transport Sustainable transport refers to the broad subject of transport Transport (in British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect A standard language (also standard variety, standard dialect, and standard) is a languag ...
*
Transit-oriented development In urban planning Urban planning, also known as regional planning, town planning, city planning, or rural planning, is a technical and political process that is focused on the development and design A design is a plan or specification ...
*
Transport divide Transport divide (also known as transport exclusion, transport disadvantage, transport deprivation, transportation divide, and mobility divide) refers to unequal access to transportation Transport (commonly used in the U.K.), or transportati ...
*
Urban sprawl Urban sprawl (also known as suburban sprawl or urban encroachment) is the unrestricted growth in many urban area An urban area, or built-up area, is a human settlement with a high population density and infrastructure of built environment. ...
*
Urban planning Urban planning, also known as regional planning, town planning, city planning, or rural planning, is a technical and political process that is focused on the development and design A design is a plan or specification for the construction o ...
*
Cycling infrastructure Cycling infrastructure refers to all infrastructure Infrastructure is the set of fundamental facilities and systems that support the sustainable functionality of households and firms. Serving a country, city, or other area, including the serv ...


Notes and references


Bibliography

* Mees, P (2000) A Very Public Solution:transport in the dispersed city, Carlton South, Vic. : Melbourne University Press * Geels, F., Kemp, R., Dudley, G., Lyons, G. (2012) Automobility in Transition? A Socio-Technical Analysis of Sustainable Transport. Oxford: Routledge.


External links


Automobile Dependency (TDM Encyclopedia)
Victoria Transport Policy Institute
Smart Cities concept cars at MIT
{{DEFAULTSORT:Automobile dependency Urban design Sustainable urban planning Sustainable transport