UBDC researcher says car dependency in cities must be reduced
Dr David McArthur was interviewed for an article in The Herald to coincide with the theme of “Driving the global transition to zero emission transport” being discussed at COP26.
The piece by David Leask, Electric cars, fewer trips, more walking… how will we get around in the future?, appeared in the print edition of the newspaper on Wednesday 10th November.
In the article, Dr McArthur, UBDC's Associate Director for Training and Capacity Building and Senior Lecturer in Transport Studies, commented that we need to have fewer cars on the road, rather than focusing on a switch to electric vehicles. He said:
“All the cars we have should be electric but electric cars do not solve all the problems associated with car dependency.
“At the moment the UK still burns coal for power, so you need to have carbon-free electricity generation before you solve the carbon problem with electric cars.”
Dr McArthur also pointed out that although replacing petrol and diesel cars with electric vehicles may sound like an easy option, it will still involve many infrastructure changes, such as installing charging points. He noted that we are also missing an opportunity, particularly in Glasgow:
“Glasgow went for big wide streets when it was being laid out which presents a lot of opportunities because we have the space to put in infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists and for cars and buses. In Glasgow half the journeys done by cars and buses are less than five and a half kilometres.
“We have to think a certain proportion of those could be walked or cycled. Not all, certainly. But some of them of could be if we had in place the safe infrastructure and culture for doing that”.
In his comments, Dr McArthur also touched on integrated ticketing and road pricing as potential ways for incentivising greater use of public transport and active travel options.