Travelling to work: will people move out of their cars?
Recent years have seen a huge rise in the levels of car ownership. The numbers of journeys made and kilometers traveled by car are increasing. Increased road transport affects health in a number of ways, including road traffic accidents, air and noise pollution, psychological well being and health related accessibility issues. A further consequence of the growth in the number of cars is traffic congestion. This paper examines employee's perceptions of their modal choice during the journey to work, and addresses what factors influence modal choice, and whether people can be moved out of their cars to other more sustainable forms of transport. The results of surveys of the commuting habits of employees at two United Kingdom companies are presented and compared with other relevant studies. Ninety-seven and 88% of staff at the respective companies travel to work by car. While only 2 and 7% of respondents cycled to work, real potential for cycling was identified, given improvements in the cycling infrastructure. Similarly, while only 0 and 3% currently use public transport for the journey to work, improved services could see a significant modal shift. Overall, there seemed to be genuine willingness to move out of the car for the journey to work, with one of the main barriers being a perception that the alternatives are not viable. Additionally, it appears that many people live too far from the workplace to cycle or use public transport.