At a crossroads: investigating automobility and its implications for local urban transport policy design
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Hynes, Mike. (2017). At a Crossroads: Investigating Automobility and Its Implications for Local Urban Transport Policy Design. Urban Science, 1(2), 14. DOI: 10.3390/urbansci1020014
More people than ever before are living in urban settlements, increasing competition for living space, employment, food, water, and energy. Urbanisation poses many challenges, most notably meeting the basic health and well-being needs of inhabitants. One of the key challenges faced is the increase in transport-related energy consumption and its negative economic, environmental, and social consequences. Cities and towns are complex spatial structures supported by transport systems, and automobility dominates many urban planning decisions. Such approaches to transportation and land use patterns favour and promote car use, providing inadequate alternatives or more sustainable modes of transport such as public transport, cycling, and walking. However, automobility is now deemed unsustainable, and moves toward more sustainable modes of transport are both necessary and essential to improving the quality of life for all citizens. This study seeks to determine levels of automobility thinking and attitudes to transportation in Galway, a small city on the west coast of Ireland, and provides an innovative, quantitative measure of reliance on this single mode of transport. Results indicate people who live in the city are not as car dependent as its rural hinterlands, although this is seldom reflected in local authority and regional transport approaches and decision-making.