Opinion: "Sticks, not carrots" are required to get drivers out of cars, say climate scientists

“The stick is the primary answer to reducing cars in cities,” said a former London transport leader today. Jon Burke also said that “alternative transport options are also a part of this process,” albeit a smaller one, he added.

Until 2021, Burke was the London borough of Hackney’s cabinet member for energy, waste, transport and the public realm. He was the elected councillor who led Hackney’s push for more active travel and for motor vehicle restraint, installing one of London’s most ambitious low traffic neighborhoods, or LTNs.

Carrots are not enough to get drivers out of their cars, agree many academics

“The most effective thing we can do to reduce cars in cities is to use carrots and sticks to reduce car use and increase public transport, walking, and cycling,” said Kim Nicholas, an American climate scientist.

“But carrots alone are not sufficient to overcome the entrenched infrastructure and incentives, which today favors car use. So to really move the needle and to get people out of cars and using other forms of transport—which is what we have to do to reduce emissions for climate change, to protect public health to make cities and streets safer and more livable—we have to massively reduce car use along with increasing sustainable mobility.”

In a paper published in Case Studies on Transport Policy, Nicholas and a colleague ranked 12 measures which have been proven to reduce motor vehicle trips. Their literature search analyzed car-taming techniques published in more than 800 separate studies.

Source: Forbes