The golden age of motoring is over
Liz Parle, 24, a Birmingham-born café owner, cannot drive. "I did try to learn, but I failed my test a few times," Parle told the Guardian.
Then she moved to London, where running a car can be a nightmare, so now she cycles everywhere.http://www.24en.com 爱思英语网
Parle is by no means atypical. According to the Guardian, in the UK, the percentage of 17- to 20-year-olds with driving licenses fell from 48 percent in the early 1990s to 35 percent last year.
Meanwhile, road traffic figures for cars and taxis, which have risen more or less every year since 1949, have continued to fall since 2007.
Motoring groups put it down to oil prices and the economy. Others offer a more fundamental explanation: the golden age of motoring is over.
"The way we run cars is changing fast," Tim Pollard, associate editor at Car magazine, told the Telegraph, "Car manufacturers are worried that younger people in particular don't aspire to own cars like we used to in the 70s, 80s, or even the 90s. Designers commonly say that teenagers today aspire to own the latest smart phone more than a car."
As technology companies try to keep pace with the iPhone generation, Pollard says carmakers are also coming to terms with less possessive buyers. This has led to a different kind of ownership and the increase of rental schemes.
"Peugeot, for instance, has launched a European project called Mu," Pollard said. "You become a member and can then rent whichever Peugeot best suits your mobility needs that day."
"例如法国标致汽车在欧洲启动了一个名为Mu的项目，" 珀拉德说道。"只要成为会员，你便可以租到最适合你驾驶需求的标致汽车了。"http://www.24en.com 爱思英语网
That means you can borrow a van to move house at the weekend. Then get into a 308 for the school run, Monday to Friday. Then hop into an electric car to scoot silently around town. Then borrow a Peugeot bicycle to cycle to the pub in the evening.
"It's an attempt to second-guess how we'll run cars in the future, and a pilot scheme at present, but you can do this today in London. Other car manufacturers are studying similar ideas," Pollard said.
David Metz is a visiting professor at the University College London's Center for Transport Studies. He said underpinning all these innovations and ideas is what he sees as a major behavioral shift among the generation of "digital natives".
"They don't care about owning things. Possession is a burden, and a car is a big investment for most people–not just the vehicle, but the permits, the parking space," he told the Guardian.http://www.24en.com 爱思英语网
And a survey conducted by the British Department of Transport earlier this year supports what Metz said. The survey showed that the proportion of men in their 30s who drive has remained steady, while twentysomethings appear to be putting off getting behind the wheel until it's absolutely necessary.http://www.24en.com 爱思英语网
"It's not just about the cost," Metz said. "Other factors that are more speculative are that there are more people in higher education, which typically takes place in urban centers where the car isn't part of the mix. Then people stay on in these urban centers."
Metz added there's nothing wrong with wanting a little house in the country, and a car to get you to and from it. Yet there is something reckless in restricting new buildings to a particular form of transport, especially if that form of transport shows signs of decline.
"If we're living in a world that is urbanizing globally, this is worth considering."