Have you ever stopped to think about why people have cars? Why people think cars are a necessity? Or why people think that having a private vehicle improves quality of life? I just don’t get it. I am very confused by this for the following reasons…
- Traffic- Even though car commercials portray shiny SUV’s cruising along the country side… a more realistic portrayal would be in the middle of city congestion.
- Cars kill people- Pedestrians, cyclists, bus riders and cars all share the same space. It’s no secret that cars kill the more people than any other mode of transportation.
- Cars kill animals- Sadly our furry friends are the victims of cars
- Sprawl- If people had to rely on public transportation, walking and cycling… they would choose a place to live that best facilitates that.
- Horns and car alarms are annoying.
- They take up a lot of space- A car needs 300 square feet when parked or standing still and 3000 square feet when moving at 30 miles per hour. Sometimes there is only one person in this vehicle.
- There’s less room for buses
- Parking lots- These spaces would win space-wasting competitions.
- Parking tickets- We all have better ways to spend $50
- Parking- Count how long it takes you to find a sport, fit into it and then re-locate it later.
- Road rage- take our word for it, riding the bus, walking and biking are much more relaxing.
- Mechanics- you never know when something is going to break down.
I believe that the above reasons should motivate us to use other forms of transportation! Maybe it isn’t possible to completely cut out cars from our lifestyles. But if we are more aware of all the reasons that cars are negatively affecting people’s quality of life… then it can motivate us to change their transportation behavior at least some of the time! Now we get to the hard part. How exactly can we change people’s behavior and attitudes towards public transportation?
- Inform people. Are people aware that Saskatoon even has public transportation?
- Make taking the bus easy. Helping people to know where to buy transit passes, how to look up their bus schedule and how to ride to bus so that they can feel confident doing it. Lets help people to see how taking the bus can fit into their life.
- Make taking the bus desirable. How will taking the bus fit into a positive self-image? How can we make people realize that taking the bus makes them more environmentally conscious, more social and more community minded?
- Make taking the bus rewarding. There is proof that taking the bus helps people save money, have more time for multitasking on the bus.
- How can we help people make taking the bus a habit? Once people have tried taking the bus, what can we do to help them keep doing riding it?
Now its your turn for reflection, what do you think are barriers, triggers and motivators for taking public transportation in Saskatoon?
- Barriers – what are the things that stop people from taking the bus?
- Triggers – how could we get people to try out taking the bus?
- Motivators – what are the ways to help them stick with taking public transit?
3 thoughts on “What Will It Take For People to Stop Driving Cars?”
I believe that we have a cultural bias against public transit, that informs us public transit is for hippies and other lovers.
Having our own vehicle gives us a quick gratification, allowing us too sleep in, rush to get to work, and spend as little time as possible thinking about our lives.
In order to change these attitudes we need to stress the benefits of slowing down, appreciating our surroundings and thinking about the kind of person we each want to be.
So I guess my previous post was about barriers.
The biggest motivator to many people is cost.
Transit is economical, especially with the ECO plan.
I used to pay $83 per month for my bus pass. Since enrolling in the ECO plan my employer pays half. Now my cost is just $42 per month and I do not have to go to the transit office for renewal.
Compare that to the cost of gas, especially in winter when vehicles need to warm up, as well as the cost of parking.
Most people will want a vehicle for purposes other than daily commutes so maintenence and insurance costs can not be taken into account.
I’ve lived in downtown Saskatoon for over five years without owning a car. Maintenance and insurance costs need to be factored in, even if you’re only thinking of a car as a commute-to-work tool.
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