Despite road congestion, frequent accidents, damage to the environment, and high ownership costs, commuters still choose cars as their primary mode of transportation. Even though commuters usually have other options available, cars remain the most ubiquitous mode of transportation worldwide. Our survey found 43% of respondents drove a car and 23% rode as a passenger for their daily commute compared to 25% who have taken a bus and 16% who walked.

As more and more people use cars, scientists and policymakers need to think of new ways to encourage the use of alternative  solutions like biking, ride-sharing, electric vehicles and public transportation. In order to do so, a better understanding of why people fiercely cling to their cars is needed. Across the globe, the top three reasons for using a car are: ‘it is more comfortable/relaxing’ (36%), ‘it is faster’ (36%), and ‘I can control my own schedule’ (30%).

 

On a regional level, reasons for car ownership vary significantly. For example, in Southeast Asian countries there is a larger share of people who choose to drive a car because they need it for long distance travel. (Vietnam 52%, the Philippines 37%, India 33%, Indonesia 32%, Malaysia 30%, World Average 23%).

In the Middle East many respondents say they use cars because they have no access to public transportation (Saudi Arabia 31%, United Arab Emirates 26%, Bahrain 25%, World Average 13%).

The survey also found that Latin American countries have a higher share of respondents who cite greater safety as a reason for using a car over other transport methods (Venezuela 43%, Mexico 41%, Brazil 32%, Colombia 31%, Ecuador 29%, World Average 16%).

To explore more transportation facts and figures, visit the interactive dashboard How the World Moves.