Nyamweya is a Kenyan scholar who has done many years of research on a diversity of topics
Traffic has been regarded as a huge problem in our society today, and this mandates us to make critical decisions that will see a reduction in traffic jams on our roads. While officials and others have blamed many other factors on the cause of the regular traffic jams, we need to examine the real situation on the ground in terms of the number of people using it and compare it with the available space. Through careful evaluation of our roads and streets, we may be able to make sound decisions on effective traffic management. In addition, we also have to look into the number of passengers that are moved using different modes of transport and the space which such modes need. In essence, past analysis on the number of passengers moved using different modes and the road space needed alongside other factors indicate that despite other modes of transport taking a notable amount of roads space, they nonetheless take the same number of passengers to where they are required. On the other hand, cars are able to take a similar amount of space even though they usually move very few people. It is therefore, a high time to re-evaluate the use of personal cars on public roads and control it, in order to avoid the many problems currently experienced on our roads. This hub will assess the Pros and Cons of Using personal cars, as well as the result of this assessment.
Pros of Using Personal Cars
In modern perspectives, the quality of life for many people has improved. Consequently, many people are now capable of owning a car and other luxuries. Since such people could afford private cars, they therefore, find it unnecessary travelling in crowded buses each day and worrying about being late (Corpuz, 2006). Apparently, cars make travelling for people comfortable while at the same time creating convenience. Similarly, cars have created personal independence, which is desirable for many people who can afford it. With private cars, a road user would not have to depend on the fixed departure and arrival schedules of public modes of transport or taxi services, which in most times are expensive. Women with access to private cars will not only find it comfortable travelling in cars, but will also avoid crowds in areas of transit. Moreover, there is no need for people with busy schedule and school goers to rely on public modes of transport especially if it inconveniences their schedule.
There are also some contexts such as emergencies where private cars become a necessary mode of transport. In this perspective, we have to take into consideration that there are some parts especially in rural areas, which do not have adequate ambulance facilities, police cruisers, and many mobile medical facilities. Personal cars therefore, come in handy in transporting patients during emergencies or sudden ailments to the nearest health facilities. It is also important to note that sick people need a serene environment where they are not unnecessarily disturbed while travelling to hospital. This is not possible in public transport where there are many people and commotion. Further, there are also circumstances when public modes of transport become unavailable. For instance, during peak times, public modes of transport are filled quickly and one may take a long time before finding space in one of them. This will leave a passenger with no option, but to use the available modes, including private vehicles.
Cons of Using Personal Cars
The use personal cars without restriction subsequently lead into traffic congestion on public roads. Although there are those arguing that, it creates convenience for users, these same users end up waiting in their cars for a long time during traffic jams. The high traffic congestion caused by private cars certainly eludes the benefits attributed to their use. In addition, private cars contribute to many of the accidents occurring on our roads. This is made worse in urban towns where there are high number of schools, offices, companies, hospitals and other facilities (Hine and Scott, 2000). Further, the number of personal cars continue to rise each day. This means that road congestion is an inevitable experience if no check is done on their use. The congestion problem further occurs when the owners park cars anyhow, including on roadsides, also a great contributor to accidents.
Moreover, the presence of many cars in a particular area means more pollution to the environment. Gas emissions discharged by these cars presents serious risk to the environment. This assumption is backed by scientific research that the many cars existing on our roads have hugely contributed to environmental risks (IBI Group, 2000). It is good to understand that most cars use either diesel or gasoline as fuel, despite the availability of alternative option for fuel. Diesel and petroleum are derived from petroleum, which in turn comes from the earth. The increase of new cars means that more of these fuels will have to be used. Consequently, there would have been more drilling of oil, which in turn, disrupts and pollutes the surrounding environment. Further, factories involved in crude oil processing are known for not only environmental pollution, but also use of much fuel.
There is no doubt that personal cars are beneficial especially to users who don’t want to be inconvenienced while travelling to various areas. In addition, there are also some circumstances where the use of personal cars is inevitable. For example, personal cars could be used in taking patients to hospitals in case of emergencies and where police or hospital vans are unavailable. In light of this, it is the responsibility of the government to upgrade the existing roads and create new ones as an endeavor of addressing the escalating road congestion. Furthermore, flyovers should be built across major centers to benefit all the people living in such centers (Stopher et al, 2003). However, users should be made aware that their continued used of personal cars is not only costly to themselves, but also to the national economy. For example, a car owner may find himself using more money in fuels when he uses his own car than when he or she employs public modes. Further, these cars can only carry few people at a time, while still occupying space that could have been used by public modes of transport to carry more people.
The government and other stakeholders should focus on making public modes of transport to be more convenient to users. For instance, they should introduce underground metro trains and super fast trains especially in big towns where there is a high population. Introduction of super train services in busy cities will reduce the necessity of individual to use their own cars because of excuses related to convenience. Further, the government should institute policies restricting the number of cars that could be used by one family at a particular time. Similarly, it becomes necessary for the government and other policy makers to ban all old cars, which have become a menace to road use and environmental risk. In addition, large companies, hospitals, shopping malls, markets should be required to have adequate car parking facilities. Moreover, companies, institutions, hospitals should introduce their own bus services in order to discourage employees or students from using private cars. Finally, the government must be serious in reducing traffic jams and road congestions by seriously taking relevant initiatives and implementing all the necessary plans accordingly.
Going by the high number of traffic jams, and road carnages experienced on our public roads, the time has come for us to establish policies that are meant to restrict use of personal cars on our roads. The policies so created should require people to use their cars only when it is necessary to do so. Such a policy should not favor elite groups since it is not only the public who are hurt, but also the elite themselves.