Explaining “peak car” with economic variables

Publisher's full text
Anne Bastian
Jonas Eliasson

Many western countries have seen a plateau and subsequent decrease of car travel during the 21st century. What has generated particular interest and debate is the statement that the development cannot be explained by changes in traditional explanatory factors such as GDP and fuel prices. Instead, it has been argued, the observed trends are indications of substantial changes in lifestyles, preferences and attitudes to car travel; what we are experiencing is not just a temporary plateau, but a true “peak car”. However, this study shows that the traditional variables GDP and fuel price are in fact sufficient to explain the observed trends in car traffic in all the countries included in our study: the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Sweden and (to a large extent) Australia and Germany. We argue that the importance of the fuel price increases in the early 2000s has been underappreciated in the studies that shaped the later debate. Results also indicate that GDP elasticities tend to decrease with rising GDP, and that fuel price elasticities tend to increase at high price levels and during periods of rapid price increases.

MEET US


19-20
Oct

ERPUG 2017

The five year anniversary of  European Road Profile Users' Group (ERPUG) Forum will take place at Ramboll head quarter, Copenhagen, Denmark October 19-20, 2017. 

LATEST NEWS


2017-07-05

Vehicle Driver Monitoring: sleepiness and cognitive load

To prevent road crashes it is important to understand driver related contributing factors, which have been suggested to be the critical reason in 94 per cent of crashes. The overall aim of the project Vehicle Driver Monitoring has been to advance the...


2017-06-29

Tomas Svensson new director-general

Tomas Svensson was today appointed Director-General of VTI. Tomas has been acting Director-General since January 2017. 


2017-05-30

Crash testing bicycles at VTI

For the first time single bicycle crashes have been simulated at the VTI crash safety laboratory.


2017-05-15

A case study exploring firefighters’ and municipal officials’ preparedness for electrical vehicles

A VTI-study presents a social perspective on new vehicle technology. It explores the self-reported preparedness of the fire departments (i.e., rescue services) in Sweden’s three largest cities regarding rescue operations involving electrical vehicles (EVs).


2017-05-02

Pioneering research on and about bicycles at VTI

Under what circumstances might cyclists lose tyre grip? What actions could then be taken to prevent a crash? VTI is currently developing a theoretical model of the behaviour of bicycle tyres during braking and steering in different situations and on different...


2017-05-02

Virtual pedestrians create efficient stations

If more people are to choose sustainable travel, then the public transport stations of the future must be designed so that pedestrians can get where they are going quickly, without congestion or queues. The Swedish Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI)...