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08/01/2019
Mobility, Italians prefer cars

Censis-Michelin raport 

 

There is no mobility without cars. Italians still prefer four-wheel vehicles as their main means of transport with public vehicles and bicycles trailing far behind. The reason for this choice lies both in the greater average distance between home and work, as residential areas are increasingly spreading away from major urban centres, and in individual mobility needs increasingly linked to leisure time.

Dino Collazzo

There is no mobility without cars. Italians still prefer four-wheel vehicles as their main means of transport with public vehicles and bicycles trailing far behind. The reason for this choice lies both in the greater average distance between home and work, as residential areas are increasingly spreading away from major urban centres, and in individual mobility needs increasingly linked to leisure time. This was the picture taken by Censis and included in its "Report on Italian mobility", produced in collaboration with Michelin, which analyzed behaviours, likes and dislikes of most Italian motorists. Not only that.

 

Once certified that cars are still the favourite means of transport, the researchers questioned other aspects related to both four-wheelers and mobility in general. In particular, the study considered the importance of vehicle component maintenance, the driver’s approach to Advanced driver-assistance systems, the prevalent feelings towards the advent of autonomous driving and the changes related to the spread of sharing mobility models. "What emerged from the report is the importance that motorists attach to safety - said Massimiliano Valerii, Director General of Censis -. In addition, it was pleasing to noticed a greater individual awareness related to proper vehicle maintenance. The survey indicates that Italian motorists have become more aware of the risks and are now focusing more on components such as brakes and tires, considered to be fundamental". Cars still represent the favourite means of transport when travelling. The data indicate that 65.3% of all people surveyed - 56.8% of whom as drivers and the rest as passengers - move by car.

 

On average, 41.3 million Italians travel 28.8 kilometres every working day (it was 27 at the beginning of the millennium). When analysed in detail, these numbers indicate that commuting has increased since 2001. In fact, 2.9% travel more than 50 kilometres per day (500 thousand more than 2001), 23.4% between 10 and 50 kilometres (+2.9 million) and 46% between 2 and 10 kilometres (+2 million). Only 27.6% travel up to a maximum of 2 kilometres (4 million less than in 2001). The reasons for travelling are related to free time (34.8%), to study or work (36.7%) and to family management (28.5%). Those who use the car, do so exclusively, attributing to it a convenience that is too difficult to give up, and the idea of possible combinations with alternative means of transport is hardly ever considered, except where required by law. In this case, the data shows that there is a clear difference between what is perceived - the idea of an increasingly pervasive smart-mobility - and what is the reality. Looking at alternative means of transport used, we see that 17.1% move on foot, 4.4% with public transport while 3.3% rely on their bicycles. All these figures are slightly down compared to 2001.

 

However, if cars are still the first choice for Italian motorists, what has changed is the attention to certain aspects of mobility: in particular safety and environmental sustainability (alternative fuels and vehicle electrification). What emerged from the data is that safety systems are largely viewed as hi-tech equipment that cannot be missing in a vehicle: pedestrian recognition, emergency braking, systems that inform the driver of potential dangers, collision alert software and sensors that monitor the condition of the driver. Drive-assist systems are increasingly perceived as essential, as opposed to what happens for autonomous driving, which is still viewed with a certain amount of distrust. In fact, 47.8% are against it and among them 35.7% think that only a real driver behind the wheel can guarantee greater safety.

However, as far as road safety is concerned, Censis tried to identify what are viewed as the most important components related to safety. 71.7% said that having good brakes is synonymous with safety, while 64.7% mentioned tires. Far behind we find engine oil (36.2%), seatbelts/airbags (30.1%), water (22%), lights (18.5%) and clutch (10.7%). "The report shows that today there is widespread awareness of the role played by tires in road safety - said Simone Miatton, president and CEO of Michelin Italy -. Unfortunately, though, motorist feel there is not enough information on the performance and level of safety of their tires when they are worn, a condition in which we all find ourselves sooner or later. Michelin is proposing the introduction of tests on worn tires. Providing drivers with correct and comprehensive data and information is essential to the creation of an increasingly safe and informed mobility”. Data on brakes and tires have revealed a higher awareness on individual responsibility behind vehicle maintenance. The idea of owning a vehicle and taking care of it is still deeply rooted. This is demonstrated by the high level of motorisation. For some time now, however, there have been several signs of discontinuity. Recent trends speak of a decline in driving licences, especially among young people, and a widespread diffusion of car sharing schemes. As regards the number of drivers licences issued, the figure shows that there was a decrease between 2012 and 2017.

 

The latter affected three different age groups. Between the ages of 18 to 24, drivers licences fell by 12.7% in 5 years, 9.9% between 25 and 34 and 15.5% between 35 and 44. By contrast, the age groups between 45 and 64 years and those over 65 years of age recorded an increase of 9.2% and 10.3% respectively. If obtaining a drivers licence is now viewed as not so important among young people as opposed to the elderly, the ratio is reversed when we talk about sharing. In this case, car sharing attracts people between the ages of 18 and 34, making up 55.8% of the users registered for this type of service.

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