At least 40% of Maltese drivers would consider ditching their car and turning to car sharing or using public transport through a smartphone app that would help them plan trips, according to a local study.
The survey also found that 60% would use the app to improve their car journey through route planning, avoiding roads where there was traffic and car accidents, the survey found.
The biggest concern that car drivers had was the traffic congestion (76%).
The survey was carried out by Project Aegle—an independent think-tank that aims to improve mobility—and asked the 150 respondents for their reactions to an app that would simplify trip planning and travel in Malta. The app would help them broaden their travel options—from public transport to car sharing—for that trip’s route.
Two-thirds of the respondents were positive or very positive towards the idea of using such an app.
The results suggest that people use their cars because they were not aware of any practical alternatives. In the absence of such information, the car was the easiest default option—but with increasing traffic congestion, its reliability was declining.
Alternatives like car sharing were of high interest to 58.9% of those interviewed. The 25-34 age group was particularly open to alternatives (65% would use the app for car sharing), whereas the 55-64 age group was the least likely to consider it.
“Given the high rate and increasing use of cars in Malta it is very good to see that people are starting to take alternatives into consideration. Having an app in place that enables you to plan your trip much better would greatly improve Malta’s traffic situation,” said Nicoletta Moss, Project Aegle manager.
Ranier Fsadni, an anthropologist and contributor to Project Aegle, said the results raised questions for further research. “It’s evident that an increasing proportion of drivers want more choice—but the only real choice is an informed one. As for those who don’t see themselves using the app, we should not jump to conclusions about their reasons”.
An older group of drivers might not be as fluent in the use of apps, or feel less safe car-sharing with younger drivers they did not know, or any one of several other reasons. “What’s important is to develop an approach to mobility that recognises the particular needs of different age groups so they can all have a wider, real choice,” Fsadni said.