Anyone who lives in a city is aware of the increasing number of cars on the road and the kinds of problems this creates: traffic jams, air pollution and longer commuting periods. As economies grow and access to cars spreads to increasing numbers of people, this trend is likely to worsen. The solution, it would seem, is for governrnment to encourage the use of public transport in urban areas, thus decreasing dependence on the car.
One way to stimulate public transport use is to make private car use more expensive and inconvenient. The introduction of tolls along urban motorways has been successfully employed in many cities. Other such measures are high-priced permits for parking in urban areas and the restriction of parking to a limited number of cars. Faced with high costs or no place to park, commuters would perhaps be more willing to abandon their cars in favour of buses or trains.
There are also less punishing ways of spurring public transport use. The construction of free carparks at suburban train stations has proven successful in quite a number of countries. This allows commuters to drive part of the way, but take public transport into the central, most congested, urban areas.
Indeed, making public transport more comfortable and convenient should work to attract more commuters and decrease traffic congestion. Public transport that is convenient and comfortable retains its passengers, much like any business that satisfies its customers. The more commuters committed to taking public transport, the less congestion on city streets.