People in rural areas increasingly forced to rely on cars

People in rural areas increasingly forced to rely on cars

People living outside the bigger cities in the Netherlands are being forced to rely on cars more frequently. This is due to increasingly long distances to work and amenities. Furthermore, public transport links are not as reliable in smaller cities, suburban regions, and rural areas, as in large cities, researchers from the Knowledge Institute for Mobility Policy (KiM) wrote in their publication “Widespread car ownership in the Netherlands.”

The opposite is happening in big cities where the car is losing its appeal as there are many other transport options. Private car ownership has declined in urban centers across the Netherlands over the past decade, while car ownership has been on the rise in rural areas, according to the report. Almost double the number of people in the most rural areas (64%) have reported increased reliance on the car in recent years than those living in city centers (36%). 

The cost of using a car is impacting some households’ ability to pay for other necessities. Between 5% and 6% of Dutch people feel forced to have a car because of where they live, according to KiM estimates. Car dependency is a difficult problem to navigate, the researchers said. While the government can lower the financial threshold for car ownership, dependency does not decrease along with it. Moreover, the nightmare continues for those who cannot, do not want to, or are not allowed to drive. 

The ecological impact of car ownership also should not be ignored. The researchers said that 6.7 tons of CO2 are emitted in car production processes and raw materials like iron, aluminum, rubber, and oil are being used up. 

Moreover, “SUV-ication” is occurring in the Netherlands, as more and more people buy big and powerful cars. The safety of people on the street is impacted by these imposing vehicles and more space is taken up on the roads.