UCL News


Save the world, drive for fun

7 February 2008



Emissions could be reduced if environmentalists were to campaign for people only to drive for fun, rather than for shorter functional journeys. …

Professor Iain Borden [UCL Bartlett School] argues that green campaigners who advocate motoring for pleasure might be more effective in encouraging people to use more public transport. …

He said: "Today, it is very much in people's everyday lives that the city car operates, offering them freedom, pride, independence, self-expression, and allowing them to negotiate the conflicts within their lives." …

In his lecture he discussed current trends for cities and how they deal with cars and congestion, citing examples from around the world of 'signless' road junctions.

He said: "Traffic lights, stop signs, road lines and other instructions have been removed from traffic intersections to create 'psychological traffic calming', slowing traffic by removing instructions to drivers, allowing eye contact to occur, and hence getting drivers and pedestrians to self-regulate their speeds and trajectories.

"Although obviously not suitable for all roads, this vision implies a new kind of city, one more aesthetically pleasing and which generates more responsible and sociable road users - no longer sign-watching zombies but instead alert, attentive, people-aware citizens."