Transportation played its part in the recent COP26 meeting in Glasgow, especially in the talk on socioeconomic changes that rely on the choices individual consumers make. Private cars are responsible for about 40% of the overall transport emissions1 and still one of the biggest household expenses. Electric and hybrid cars are being lobbied constantly, but the question we should be asking is how do we reduce the amount of private cars on the roads already and can eventually give them up altogether? MaaS Global and Whim are dedicated to offering a better alternative to a privately owned car and providing our customers with more sustainable options.
A commodity or a necessity?
The first and most important thing when thinking about going car-free is to ask yourself if your life at the moment can truly accommodate everyday travel without a car. Many of us living far from where we work or study without public transport, having kids to take to hobbies or relatives to visit on a regular basis feel we need a car, but car-free does not have to start with an extreme. Going car-lite or avoiding adding a second car to your household can have great ecological, societal and economical benefits.
Decreasing the use of your own private car can have an effect on global problems such as carbon emissions, but it also has personal benefits. Switching your car to a bike adds to your daily exercise, and in the long run increased use of public or shared transport or micromobility options will decrease the amount of noise and air pollution as well as congestion created by private cars on the roads.
If more and more people choose car-free life, this will show in how cities are designed and built. At the moment, the curbsides dedicated to parking take up valuable space that could better fit pedestrians and cyclists, become green areas or dedicated drop-off spots for car shares and ridehails2. And in fact, public transport helps reduce road congestion which improves the usability of roads for all modes of mobility3. So, better planning can start with individual consumers, but in the end it requires the help of everyone involved.
We often underestimate how much we spend on our cars. Finding a good parking spot can be expensive and time-consuming, maintenance brings its own expenses, and for many the combined price of purchasing, using and maintaining a car is one of the biggest reasons for not owning one4. If you do not need to use a car regularly, you can try renting one or use a taxi. The money saved this way or by using monthly public transport packages can allow you to occasionally rent the car of your dreams, and you do not have to spend time or expense maintaining the vehicle yourself.