Londoners could give up private cars to meet climate goals

More than 650,000 households in London could give up their private vehicles and switch to car clubs to meet the city’s climate goals, according to new analysis by Collaborative Mobility UK.

CoMoUK has found this would reduce carbon emissions by 82,000 tonnes a year, helping Mayor of London Sadiq Khan meet the targets set out in his Transport Strategy.

The charity’s new report, Driving London Forward, highlights that the city is home to 2.7 million private cars, making it the single most dominant transport mode. It warned that this does not fit London’s ‘self-image’ or the Mayor’s key aims of ensuring 80 per cent of journeys are made by sustainable modes by 2041, and for London to be a net sero city by 2030.

There are currently 3,482 car club cars shared in London by 623,910 members, up from 300,000 in March 2019.

Analysis by CoMoUK, in partnership with consultancy firm Steer, found there are as many as 650,000 households that could give up a privately-owned car. This is based on research of the travel habits of car-owning households in London and the identification of car-owning households where their trip frequencies and characteristics show that they could move from private ownership to car club use.

An additional 21,000 car club vehicles would be needed to meet the demand, but there would be around 300,000 fewer privately owned cars on the roads, including 194,000 vehicles not compliant with the Ultra Low Emission Zone.
In a list of recommendations for 2022, the report said TfL should promote car clubs as part of a package of alternatives to the private car. It also wants TfL to co-establish with London councils and boroughs the basis of an electric vehicle charging infrastructure that suits the needs of car clubs and gives them preferential access.
Richard Dilks, chief executive of CoMoUK, said: “We have produced this report to define the future potential of car club services in London, and the huge impacts these would have are there for all to see. London has strong ambitions to cut its transport emissions but faces equally strong challenges in doing so. Our analysis found 650,000 households in London could give up a privately-owned car, with huge benefits for everyone in the city.

“As London emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic into a changed world, car clubs and other shared transport options should be a permanent and integrated part of the options the capital takes forward as it continues to make itself a more pleasant, productive and less polluted and congested global city.”

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