The golden age of motoring is over
BY 轩颦 from 21st Century
Published 2011-10-25
导读:当中国正在为世界第一大汽车王国这个名号而感到骄傲时,西方已经开始反思汽车文化,倡导绿色出行(green travel)。西方后汽车时代已悄然而临。而我们离后汽车时代还有多远?

Liz Parle, 24, a Birmingham-born café owner, cannot drive. “I did try to learn, but I failed my test a few times,” Parle told the Guardian.

Then she moved to London, where running a car can be a nightmare, so now she cycles everywhere.

Parle is by no means atypical. According to the Guardian, in the UK, the percentage of 17- to 20-year-olds with driving licenses fell from 48 percent in the early 1990s to 35 percent last year.
帕尔乐绝不是个特例。根据《卫报》的报道, 在英国,17-20岁年龄段持有驾照的人口比例从上世界90年代初期的48%缩减到去年的35%。

Meanwhile, road traffic figures for cars and taxis, which have risen more or less every year since 1949, have continued to fall since 2007.

Motoring groups put it down to oil prices and the economy. Others offer a more fundamental explanation: the golden age of motoring is over.

“The way we run cars is changing fast,” Tim Pollard, associate editor at Car magazine, told the Telegraph, “Car manufacturers are worried that younger people in particular don’t aspire to own cars like we used to in the 70s, 80s, or even the 90s. Designers commonly say that teenagers today aspire to own the latest smart phone more than a car.”

As technology companies try to keep pace with the iPhone generation, Pollard says carmakers are also coming to terms with less possessive buyers. This has led to a different kind of ownership and the increase of rental schemes.
珀拉德表示,就像科技公司设法去适应iPhone 一代一样,,汽车厂商也不得不接受购车客户减少这一事实。这已经催生了一种新的车辆所有权,并导致租车公司数量的增长。

“Peugeot, for instance, has launched a European project called Mu,” Pollard said. “You become a member and can then rent whichever Peugeot best suits your mobility needs that day.”
“例如法国标致汽车在欧洲启动了一个名为Mu的项目,” 珀拉德说道。“只要成为会员,你便可以租到最适合你驾驶需求的标致汽车了。”

That means you can borrow a van to move house at the weekend. Then get into a 308 for the school run, Monday to Friday. Then hop into an electric car to scoot silently around town. Then borrow a Peugeot bicycle to cycle to the pub in the evening.

“It’s an attempt to second-guess how we’ll run cars in the future, and a pilot scheme at present, but you can do this today in London. Other car manufacturers are studying similar ideas,” Pollard said.
“尽管我们试图预测人类未来的驾车方式,这在当前还只是一个试验性计划,但在现在的伦敦你就可以做。其他的汽车制造商也都在研究类似的构想。” 珀拉德说道。

David Metz is a visiting professor at the University College London’s Center for Transport Studies. He said underpinning all these innovations and ideas is what he sees as a major behavioral shift among the generation of “digital natives”.

“They don’t care about owning things. Possession is a burden, and a car is a big investment for most people–not just the vehicle, but the permits, the parking space,” he told the Guardian.

And a survey conducted by the British Department of Transport earlier this year supports what Metz said. The survey showed that the proportion of men in their 30s who drive has remained steady, while twentysomethings appear to be putting off getting behind the wheel until it’s absolutely necessary.

“It’s not just about the cost,” Metz said. “Other factors that are more speculative are that there are more people in higher education, which typically takes place in urban centers where the car isn’t part of the mix. Then people stay on in these urban centers.”

Metz added there’s nothing wrong with wanting a little house in the country, and a car to get you to and from it. Yet there is something reckless in restricting new buildings to a particular form of transport, especially if that form of transport shows signs of decline.

“There’s this idea of a green metropolis, where land values are high so there’s less space to heat, and where electric vehicles are viable, because the trips taken are shorter,” Metz said.

“If we’re living in a world that is urbanizing globally, this is worth considering.”

(Translator & Editor: 21英语 Penny AND Aaron)
atypical  非典型的
aspire  渴望,追求
possessive  占有的
rental  出租的
scoot  疾走,奔驰
underpin  加固,支撑
put off  推迟,摆脱
speculative  推测的
reckless  鲁莽的
restrict  约束,限制
metropolis  都市
viable  可行的
urbanize  使城市化