Young People Find the Prospect of Driving Cars More Attractive

by VR Sreeraman on Dec 8 2008 3:19 PM

The prospect of driving cars are more attractive than other modes of travel that are more environment friendly for Gen X claims a new research.

The research was conducted by Dr Tilly Line at the University of the West of England.

Dr Line's work examined how young people are influenced by knowledge about climate change when it comes to making choices about how they will travel when they become adults.

The study concentrated on the views of young people aged between 11 and 18 years and the findings found an overwhelming desire by young people to drive.

According to Dr Line, it was found that the participants have a general understanding of the link between transport and climate change, but when it comes to their attitudes towards different modes, they place higher value on identity, self-image, and social recognition than the environment.

It is this that explains their positive attitudes towards the car and driving in favour of alternative eco-friendly modes.

"For example, the participants pointed to learning to drive as "a mile-stone in teenage life" - something that everyone does at seventeen. They also pointed to the car as a symbol of social status and the importance of their role as a driver in their friendship groups," said Dr Line.

"Although it is recognized that transport policy makers are likely to require an understanding of the degree to which these values and attitudes are universally held among young people, it is suggested that policy aimed at reducing the public's reliance on the car and increasing their use of alternative modes, should recognise such values, particularly in relation to soft policy measures (including marketing activities) targeting the socio-psychological motivations for travel choice," she explained.

"For example, one answer may be to promote cycling as a signal of success and 'being cool', rather than promoting the environmental benefits of this behaviour," she added.

According to Dr Line, "On a positive note, I found that a number of the young people welcomed the idea that hard policy ideas leading to enforced travel behaviour away from reliance on cars would lead to a change in behaviour. But, that this would only be possible if walking, cycling and public transport was easily accessible and reliable."

"This was even the case amongst those participants already driving and it seemed to stem from the belief that such action would empower more people to attempt to tackle climate change through changes in their travel behaviour as everyone would have to behave in the same way," she added.