‘Peak Car Use’: Understanding the Demise of Automobile Dependence

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– by Peter Newman and Jeff Kenworthy
Curtin University Sustainability Policy (CUSP) Institute
Perth, Western Australia
Journal of World Transport Policy and Practice


The first signs of declining car use in cities are being observed. The data on this are summarized before six interdependent factors are examined that could help to explain this unexpected phenomenon.

In 2009 the Brookings Institution were the first to recognize a new phenomenon in the world’s developed cities – declines in car use (Puentes and Tomer, 2009). This paper summarizes the recent data covering this new phenomenon of ‘peak car use’ and seeks to understand why it is happening. It first presents the data which are confirming this trend in cities in the US, Australia and eight other nations together with some of the data from our Global Cities Database that were suggesting the possibility of this trend.

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