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RE: [WorldTransport Forum] Counter-thoughts on carsharing for Third World cities. Your views?

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  • mark.j.king@transport.qld.gov.au
    Hi Eric I ve just read Craig Townsend s comment on developing nations and carsharing. I think the important phrase is how to share scarce resources , with the
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 18, 2004
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      Hi Eric

      I've just read Craig Townsend's comment on developing nations and
      carsharing.

      I think the important phrase is "how to share scarce resources", with the
      emphasis on "scarce". Having done road safety work in developing countries
      in Southeast Asia over a few years, I have seen a high motivation for
      individuals to reduce the scarcity of personal transport, with sharing only
      taking place because there is no other alternative. If people can buy
      personal transport, they will do so, starting with motorcycles and
      progressing to cars if possible (a notable exception - but an exception
      nonetheless - being China, where motorcycles are reportedly banned). This
      is intertwined with issues of status, because ownership of personal
      transport shows a degree of wealth, and wealth (in today's increasingly
      market-oriented global society) IS status. For the same reason, people in
      developing countries abandon bicycles when they are able to, because it is
      how poor people travel. Public transport is similarly a form of travel
      which is abandoned as soon as personal transport can be afforded.

      At the moment the family orientation of many Southeast Asian societies
      means that purchase and use takes place at the family unit level, but this
      is changing as younger generations become more individualistic, again in
      response to globalizing forces. In the short term the low average income
      and large degree of income inequality in many developing countries means
      that motor vehicle ownership levels will stay low and sharing will occur,
      but sharing is a "second best" way of coping for these societies and not an
      end in itself.

      I suspect the only thing we can learn from vehicle sharing in developing
      countries is that making motoised transport scarce (whether by price or
      other controls) will foster sharing. Unfortunately, this is not relevant
      to us - yet. Substantial increases in oil prices stemming from reductions
      in world oil production (variously estimated to peak in 2004, around 2020
      or around 2050) together with increasing demand from countries like India
      and China might do this, unless alternative energy options prove
      themselves.

      In the meantime we have to rely on more difficult attempts to foster civic
      and environmental responsibility (requiring long term thinking and
      commitment) in opposition to the individual "at the margin" travel
      decisions people make every day.

      Mark King
      Queensland Transport
      and
      Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety - Queensland
      Queensland University of Technology
      Australia





      "Craig Townsend" <craig_townsend@...> on 18/04/2004 03:52:00 AM

      Please respond to WorldTransport@yahoogroups.com

      To: WorldTransport@yahoogroups.com
      cc:
      Subject: RE: [WorldTransport Forum] Counter-thoughts on carsharing for
      Third World cities. Your views?


      (See attached file: C.htm)





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