Letter: Sometimes a motor is the optimum mode

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The Independent Online
Sir: Gavin Green makes the point in his article 'Right cars for the wrong reason' (Motoring, 19 March) that replacing big cars with tiny city cars will not solve the urban transport problem. Although this is true to a degree, city cars do have an important role as part of a wider urban transport strategy.

A great many of the journeys made in town can reasonably be achieved only by car. How else does a less than physically able person get an elderly relative, or a large suitcase, to the railway station, or collect a sick child from school, other than by car or taxi? Walking, cycling or taking the bus are simply not viable options.

We can help to reduce the overall mass movement of vehicles by using different modes for different journeys, always using the least environmentally damaging mode that still meets our needs. This can even include using the telephone, thus not moving at all.

At this institute we are looking at ways of evaluating the needs of the travellers, so as to gauge which types of journey can be readily transferred to non-car transport, and for which ones the car forms the optimum mode. Where the car is the best form of transport to use, the less space it takes up the better.

Yours faithfully,

A. W. N. PROBERT

The Judge Institute of Management Studies

University of Cambridge

22 March

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