Traffic will cause decline in car ownership

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Transport delays
Jonathan Brady/PA WIRE

Car ownership is set to decline over the next 50 years as motorists become increasingly frustrated with the traffic-clogged state of Britain's roads, according to new research by the Transport Commission.

The think-tank suggests that traditional car ownership, particularly in inner city areas, will give way to car rental schemes and other car sharing initiatives, and that drivers will increasingly seek alternative means of transport.

The average number of miles driven each year is already in decline, falling by around 2,000 miles a year over the past 20 years. The number of young people applying to take their driving test is also in decline, driven further by punitive insurance rates and other costs associated with first car ownership.

The study supports the notion that the UK and other western countries are reaching their peak in terms of the traffic volumes their road networks can support. The Department for Transport has predicted that traffic levels will rise by over 40 per cent in the next 25 years, though this doesn't take into account the deterrent effect of poor motoring conditions.

"As car use becomes less practicable for day-to-day journeys and/or less necessary, the utility derived from owning a car is reduced," the study, entitled 'Traffic and Towns: The Next 50 Years', states.

"Put another way, the perceived cost of owning and maintaining a car simply for occasional journeys is higher."

Motoring group the RAC Foundation rejected the study's findings, The Times reports, stating that repeated predictions of the car's demise had not been realised – which is backed up by UK car sales figures, which are currently showing no sign of decline.

Have traffic conditions got you considering giving up your car? Is it more of a pain than a pleasure to keep your vehicle on the road? Have your say in the comments section below.