Ten Myths of Automobile Dependence
February 27, 2011, 5:20 am
Filed under: betaCITY, Cities, density, Energy, Suburbs, Transit

Here is a summary of myths about the car from Newman and Goldsworthy’s essay Ten Myths of Automobile Dependence–

1. Wealth – wealth = automobile dependence

2. Climate – warm climate = suburban lifestyle

3. Space – spacious countries = automobile dependence

4. Age – post 1945 cities =auto dependent

5. Health and social problems – auto dependence = reaction against problems of dense cities

6. Rural lifestyles – withdrawal from evil of city / attractiveness of country

7. Road lobby – road interests result in auto dependence

8. Land developers – land developer methods result in auto dependence

9. Traffic engineering – traffic engineering methods result in auto dependence

10. Town planning – town planning methods result in auto dependence

From the author’s conclusion —

The ten myths of automobile dependence are still alive and well in urban transportation policy discussions. However, the underlying basis for them seems to have lost its edge and the professional certainties are no longer so clear; indeed the evidence is growing daily that automobile dependence is not economically, environmentally or socially good for cities. However, the problem of how to do detailed planning at the local level which is not automobile dependent is still not solved.


Each of the first nine myths are important to show that they are not inevitable, but this tenth myth about town planning is particularly important to overcome. All the other myths depend to a large extent on how well a city can plan, i.e. how well the broader goals and aspirations for a city’s future can be translated into practical community processes where the public realm is improved, not slowly eaten away. And how detailed design can create attractive, ecologically sensitive, low auto-dependent development.  This final myth must be finally robbed of its inevitability through new town planning practices.

The Ten Myths of Automobile Dependence, by Peter Newman & Jeff Kenworthy

Ten myths of automobile dependence Peter Newman and Jeff Kenworthy


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