Milton Friedman once professed that legislative action invariably reflects the public opinion of twenty to thirty years earlier. With transport in the EU being challenged to dramatically reduce its GHG emissions by 2030, and the EU Commission aggressively regulating in this direction, maybe we should probe the public opinion about its expectations regarding travel:
A freedom to go and visit friends and family, to travel to your holiday resort or escape for the week-end: most of those activities are done by car, the cheapest way for a family. Freedom matters.
An alternative to public transport: except in large cities, where the public transport grid is usually dense and reasonably efficient, most citizens, living in low-density towns and non-urban areas, the vast majority of us in most Western World countries, will prefer to use their car for the comfortable 30 minute ride to work than spending one hour and a half squeezed in a bus, infrequent and operating on a limited network: example taken from 100 000 inhabitants Limoges, a typical mid-size city in France, Western Europe. Time (and comfort) is of the essence.
Over the last forty years, Western World citizens living on our globalized planet expect goods and services to become cheaper, and any attempt to change what is perceived as a deserved way of life today has faced a kind of Yellow Vest’ upsurge, in various formats, according to local lore. Money matters.