February 11, 2005

It's the consumer, stupid!

A friend pointed out to me that an important category of stakeholders is conspicuously absent in my writing so far: the consumer, or the citizen.
The very reason mobility is viewed as a good thing is that it enables people to do things they want to do: go to work, visit family and friends, recreate, etcetera. That is one role.

The other role is that it is the same citizen, traveller, consumer, that is faced with problems associated with mobility. For instance, on February 3rd the dutch tv show Zembla showed Austrian research that said Dutch people live one to three years shorter because of small dust particle pollution hanging in the air over Holland (see image).

It also featured an interview with Guido van Woerkom, chief of the ANWB, a dutch motorists association, who essentially said that if mobility is what we want, we should be ready to pay a price, as small as possible of course, in reduced life expectancy. That is material I can use in the introductory section of my research report.

Mobility and its effects begin and end with the individual consumer. It seems like a good idea to give that consumer individual choices and incentives in making his or her mobility decisions.



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