Top positive review
17 people found this helpful
SUAVE INTRODUCTION TO CAR DEBATE
on 15 June 2006
Readers should not be deterred by the in-yer-face title This is a thoughtful and agreeably written book by someone who has looked at the successful efforts of a number of European towns to move to a less car-dependent culture and now convincingly shows that the import of some of these ideas into Britain could greatly improve everyday life for all of us.
The problem for transport dreamers, I mean thinkers, is always how we get from here to there via democratic processes. Lynn Sloman shows that change can be brought about by a lot of little steps over many years, perhaps a generation or more. But that has to be in the context of a change (even a reversal) in the preponderance of public attitudes, such as has already been achieved, for example, in regard to smoking and drink-driving. But the challenge is greater in the UK than in continental Europe because of the late start and deeply entrenched attitudes not only among the general public (think Clarkson) but in the government and civil service. The story of the author's encounter with senior officials at the Department for Transport, obsessed with large projects and the implications for UK Plc, is perhaps the most entertaining (if lamentable) passage in this highly readable book.
Car Sick is a valuable contribution to what promises to be a very long campaign. The combination of deep research and moderate language is particularly appealing: Lynn Sloman accepts a continuing role for cars and skilfully avoids the trap of polarisation. What we now need is a national debate with a view to re-orienting the public's perception of cars and car culture. Whether this can be managed without strife between pro-car and anti-car factions remains to be seen, but the risk will be minimised if this book is taken as the starting point.