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Ford survey in Europe finds a majority consider life would be impossible without a car but 76% stressed by congestion and fuel costs

A Ford-sponsored survey of 6,000 people across Europe found that the majority remain committed to car ownership but have increasing concerns about traffic congestion, the cost of driving and environmental issues.

The survey carried out by The Futures Company, between July and August 2012, polled 6,028 people in Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. The majority though life would be “impossible” without a car; however a greater proportion (76%) are affected by stress from traffic congestion and fuel prices.

Other survey highlights were that 74% use public transport, 37% share cars when making the same journey and 3% use formal car sharing schemes.

 

Ford realises more cars requires new parterships

The number of cars on the world’s roads is, according a forecasts quoted by Ford, predicted to rise from about 1 billion today to between 2 billion and 4 billion by 2050. The European Commission foresees that congestion costs in Europe will rise by 50% to €200 billion per year in the same time frame. With that in mind the company is developing a “Blueprint for Mobility” that calls for partnership with governments, the telecommunications industry and others to develop integrated transportation solutions to avoid gridlock and reduce the environmental impact of vehicles.

“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, Ford of Europe.  “As the world becomes more crowded and more urbanised, we don’t want to lose the freedom of mobility, and that’s why we need to take a collaborative and integrated approach.”

 

More than a aquarter surveyed would consider electric vehicles

Other key findings of the survey:

  • 74% identify car ownership with independence
  • 52% use public transport less than once a month or never
  • 53% say climate change was world’s biggest problem
  • 77% would not cut car usage to help tackle environmental issues
  • 72% say fuel efficiency is one of the areas they consider most when buying a car
  • 50% would use a more environmental driving style if they better understood the financial benefit
  • 57% say elected bodies bear most responsibility for reducing transport impact on the environment
  • Of those surveyed, 28% say they would consider buying a vehicle with an electrified powertrain; though few have first-hand experience of such vehicles (8% have owned or driven a hybrid electric vehicle and 6% have owned or driven a plug-in hybrid electric  vehicle or pure battery electric vehicle). By comparison 66% of those polled have owned a petrol engine vehicle and 38% have owned a diesel engine vehicle.

Ford's Intelligent Mobility project involvements

Earlier this year in Barcelona, Executive Chairman Bill Ford outlined the company’s “Blueprint for Mobility,” a vision for how mobility issues can be addressed through collaboration among all stakeholders and the application of new technology. 

Ford is contributing to a number of high-profile collaborative research projects that look at delivering car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure communications capability, improved traffic integration and intelligent driver assistance features; all considered key enablers in easing traffic congestion and improving safety and fuel efficiency.

These include:

  • simTD (Safe Intelligent Mobility - Testfield Germany) - a joint research project supported by the German government that began in 2008. It is testing car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure communication systems under real-world conditions in a large scale test environment. Such systems could deliver road safety and efficiency improvements from existing traffic infrastructures, potentially improving traffic flow and reducing CO2 emissions. 120 vehicles, including 20 Ford S-MAX cars began daily field operational tests in Frankfurt in July 2012
  • DRIVE C2X (DRIVing implementation and Evaluation of C2X communication technology in Europe) - a joint research project supported by the European Commission that began in 2011. It is testing the compatibility and scalability of cooperative car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure communication systems under real-world conditions. The DRIVE C2X reference system is used to demonstrate cooperative vehicles in real-world traffic in cooperation with the Car2Car Communication Consortium and Testfeld Telematik.
  • eCoMove (Cooperative Mobility Systems and Services for Energy Efficiency) - a joint consortium of automotive industry, fleet operators and traffic management providers supported by the European Commission that began in 2010. It is targeting improved traffic flow and reductions in CO2 emissions through cooperative systems.
  • interactIVe (Accident Avoidance by Active Intervention of Intelligent Vehicles) - a consortium of 29 partners led by Ford and supported by the European Commission that began in 2010. It is testing the performance of implemented driver assistance systems through active intervention. These include autonomous braking and steering in critical situations and aims to avoid collisions and mitigate impact severity.

In 2011, Ford Motor Company spent €4.1billion on research and development globally, in areas including car-to-car communication, driver assistance features, materials development and manufacturing.

 

Ford poll shows Europeans want freedom of car ownership, but worry about traffic, cost of driving, environment

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