Warsaw 'car enthusiasts' not much different from 'pro-ecological' residents, shows study

Credit: Adobe Stock
Credit: Adobe Stock

The majority of Warsaw residents who declare to be 'pro-ecological' choose a car as a means of transport on a daily basis. At the same time, 70 percent of 'car enthusiasts' actually drive a car every day, a study by a Polish-Norwegian team of scientists shows.

The results of the study were published last week and presented at a conference summarizing the CoMobility project at the Copernicus Science Centre in Warsaw. The project was carried out by scientists from three Warsaw universities: the University of Warsaw, the Warsaw University of Technology and the Warsaw School of Economics, as well as Norwegian anthropologists and physicists from the Norwegian research institute NILU.

The scientists analysed the transport habits of the capital's inhabitants. They divided them into four groups: pro-ecological (33%), car enthusiasts (28%), individualists (10%) and public transport supporters (29%).

It turns out that as many as 60 percent of those who declare to be 'pro-ecological' choose a car as a means of transport on a daily basis. Only 35 percent of them choose public transport. Pro-ecological people also expect the trip to be PLN 5 cheaper or 15 minutes shorter in order to choose public transport instead of a car. However, as they declare, they would be willing to ride a bike.

The data obtained in the study show that declared 'car enthusiasts' are not much different from 'pro-ecological' respondents. Seventy percent of them actually drive a car every day, and 13 percent choose public transport. The trip must be PLN 10 cheaper and 20 minutes shorter for them to choose public transport instead of a car.

'Individualists', of whom there are 10% in Warsaw, are ready to pay an additional PLN 50 on top of their travel cost and wait half an hour in a traffic jam to travel by car instead of public transport. They will also be happy to choose a bicycle, but only if there are bicycle paths and a place to park a bicycle.

There are 30% of declared 'public transport supporters' in Warsaw. Despite their sympathy for this type of transport, 29% of this group choose a car as their main means of transport. Those who use public transport on a daily basis (66% of the group) are ready to pay an extra PLN 5 and extend the journey by 20 minutes rather than drive a car.

The most ecological attitudes were observed among families with children at primary school level. As many as 49 percent of children walk to school. 23 percent ride a bicycle, 14 percent travel by car, 8 percent use public transport.

As many as 72 percent parents believe that children should not commute to school by car, and 52 percent of parents who take their children to school by car believe that children should not go to school by car. For 41 percent of parents, school is the only purpose of a car trip.

The researchers also invited the children to co-create the study. Children aged 8-12 assessed the public space around schools - whether it was green, friendly, well-lit and safe. They collected and analysed data on road traffic and the environment, for example by placing air quality sensors around schools.

Measurements made with the participation of children show that the green light time for pedestrians at a crossing in front of one of the schools is nine seconds, while the waiting time for the green light is as much as three minutes. According to children, this is the main reason for frequent attempts to cross the street at a red light.

Measurements of the width of sidewalks and crossings show that nearly half of drivers who park near schools should receive tickets.

Find out more about the project on the website. (PAP)

PAP - Science in Poland, Urszula Kaczorowska

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