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Only 21% of respondents say they used a car regularly

A quarter of drivers in Budapest’s Elizabethtown would ditch their car for something in return

A quarter of drivers in Budapest’s Elizabethtown would ditch their car for something in return

The recent survey looks at the attitude of locals on car-sharing and provides a snapshot of commuter habits

According to a recent survey by local authorities in Budapest's trendy 7th district, Erzsébetváros (Elizabethtown) residents and commuters would generally like to ditch their cars in favour of more trees and pedestrian zones, if there were sufficient financial incentives to do so.

The survey was conducted by the Climate Protection Cabinet of the Municipality of Elizabethtown last December. It looked into preferred modes of transportation and the societal acceptance of ideas like car-sharing.

Most people are pedestrians

The uses data from three main sections of the population – those who live in the district, those who work in the district and commute every day and those who visit regularly. Considering Erzsébetváros’ status as a nightlife hotspot for the city, there is a considerable amount of through traffic.

The survey shows that residents prefer to walk, as opposed to any other mode of transportation. 55% of respondents walk more than 500 metres daily, while 90% walk weekly. Furthermore, 35% use public transport, 13% cycle and only 21% use a car.

Commuters and visitors, somewhat surprisingly, have similar preferences, with the notable exception of cycling. 19% of people going to work in Budapest's 7th district use a bike, and only 10% use a car.

The data also shows big differences between age groups. Young people and those over 65 use public transport more than the middle-aged, who prefer cars. Interestingly, though, nearly 30% of respondents aged 51-65 cycle at least weekly, not far behind similar figures for younger groups.

Traffic solutions and incentives

While the average Erzsébetváros car user travels around 12,000 kilometres annually, compared to the 16,000 national average, there is considerable reluctance to swear off personal vehicles altogether.

A quarter of people who already had parking subscriptions in the district said that they would stop driving their cars if they received discounts for other modes of transportation for around 280 euros annually. If the discount was less than the amount, only about one in 10 would give up their car.

At the same time, around half of people under the age of 35 said that they would give up their car if there were any financial incentives.

A possible solution for car-dependent citizens is the use of car-sharing services or community cars. However, there are quite a few hurdles here, since, despite car-sharing services being available in the city for six years, 15% of respondents did not know what the concept was.

Indeed, age plays an important role here, as a cool quarter of people under 35 use these services, a significant amount of those over 65 are not familiar with the service.

Most respondents, however, are in favour of more pedestrian zones, trees and bike lanes and a significant majority wants to see fewer cars in Erzsébetváros. This is where community cars and car-sharing services come in, as according to the researchers, one community car can replace 5 to 10 personal vehicles.

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