Cars and personal mobility
Sir, – The programme for government includes significant initiatives in the transport sector, in providing for substantial investment in public transport and, in particular, for providing significant improvements in facilities for walking and cycling. The latter are clearly the most efficient modes of transport in terms of minimising greenhouse gas emissions and implementing sustainable development.
However, the impetus for the expansion of sustainable transport modes must be tempered by the mobility needs of a not insignificant cohort of people for whom issues of fitness and health limit their capacity to avail of these transport modes. This applies in particular to cycling. There are many moderately active people who still don’t feel confident enough to take their chances on a bicycle on a busy urban road network. Personal mobility for many people in this group is provided by their ability to drive and the availability of a car. In practice most journeys made by this group tend to be short, made at off-peak times and on uncongested roads.
In the broad context of achieving a shift from car use to more sustainable modes, it is important not to disregard the role of the car in providing basic mobility to many members of the community whose lifestyle would otherwise be curtailed. – Yours, etc,