Despite growing worries over traffic congestion, European still want to own cars

Europeans still want to buy cars, despite increasing concerns about traffic congestion, air pollution and rising fuel costs.

That is one of the conclusions from a survey of 6,000 people across Europe conducted on behalf of Ford Motor by The Futures Company, a consultancy firm.

The survey found that a majority of Europeans would find it "impossible" to live without a car. But 76 pc said they were affected by traffic congestion and high fuel prices. Moreover, 74 pc use public transportation and 37 pc share cars sometimes.

"The survey shows that we need a public dialogue and pull in all the stakeholders to address the issues of mobility and environmental responsibility,” said Barb Samardzich, vice president, product development, at Ford of Europe. "As the world becomes more crowded and more urbanized, we don’t want to lose the freedom of mobility, and that’s why we need to take a collaborative and integrated approach.”

Ford is developing  a "Blueprint for Mobility," essentially a plan for automakers, governments, telecommunications firms and other institutions to work together to address congestion and sustainability issues.

The initiative was summed up in a keynote address by Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona earlier this year. Ford painted a picture of increasing congestion and other problems in rapidly growing metropolitan areas and said technology can play a key role in finding solutions.

Today's 1 billion cars on the world's roads are forecast to double or even triple by 2050. Without decisive action, the resulting congestion is also expected to increase exponentially.

Underscoring the difficulties in addressing some of the issues, the Ford poll found that 53 pc of Europeans questioned identified climate change as the world's biggest problem, but an even larger 77 pc said they would not cut car usage to help tackle environmental issues.

And 57 pc said elected bodies bear most responsiblity for reducing the impact of transportation on the environment.