Are we winning?

15 Dec

In one way everything seems to be getting worse. A huge problem and one that is getting worse as the number of vehicles increases. However…. there are also some interesting positive signs. Here are a few of them.

We now have a prime minister and a mayor of London who are keen cyclists. William Ford (Henry Ford’s grandson) who is executive chairman of the Ford Motor company recently said “The day will come when the notion of car ownership becomes antiquated. If you live in a city, you don’t need to own a car”. I think it is interesting when someone in that position says that. Simon Kuper commented in the Financial Times “Cars are going out of fashion.. Once cars lose speed and power, they become unglamorous everyday tools, like washing machines, and nobody, presumably, derives status from their washing machine”. Thanks to ‘Life outside the box‘ for bringing my attention to that one.

Here is some evidence:

This is a video I put together of people and traffic crossing London Bridge (not Waterloo Bridge as I call it in the video). Notice that there are virtually no private cars and that the vast majority of people are on foot.

Then there here is one I make of a a street in centre of my home town of Ipswich. For sure most of the space is again allocated to car drivers but most of the people are on foot.

In relation to that comment, here is a video I took during a recent trip to Detroit showing a virtually completely empty freeway outside their world headquarters near Detroit. Detroit is a great place to cycle btw and they spending a lot of money making it better.

Finally, a couple of images from my company showing the decline in vehicles in London in the past 10 years and the increasing numbers of bicycles.

Declining numbers of cars in London shown as red

Increasing use of bicycles in London shown as blue

Major motorcar manufacturers have needed to be bailed out and the British Motorshow has been canceled again (both the 2010 and 2012 shows have now been cancelled) and may in reality never return.

All this is not a reason not to keep pushing for change, it is just a reason not to give up!

4 Responses to “Are we winning?”

  1. SteveL (A Bristol Traffic team member) December 15, 2010 at 8:52 pm #

    By measuring traffic volumes, yes, more people are walking. But you are not assessing traffic values. People driving have money and are important. Pedestrians are students, poor people, old people.

    • Peter Miller December 16, 2010 at 2:03 am #

      I think my point is just that there is a shift happening. It is more pronounced in the cities than outside but cars are losing a lot of their glamour and we just have to keep working on that. It is much more trendy to not drive now than it was.

      Is there not a problem for us in the way that pedestrians in general accept their ‘fate’ and are therefore are ignored politically even when they far outnumber the car drivers such as in some parts of the city centre and on the primary school run?

      Part of the aim of this project is to celebrate where pedestrians are making a stand and encourage more engagement by more people.


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