Thirteen Most Common Trends Shaping Automobile Dependence Worldwide and the Global Implications of these Trends Kenya

Document Type: Original Paper


1 Principal Lecturer, Department of Architectural Technology, Lagos State Polytechnic, Ikorodu, Lagos, Nigeria.

2 Professor, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, School of the Built Environment and Development Studies.

3 Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, School of the Built Environment and Development Studies, College of Humanities, the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) South Africa.


Walking being the oldest form of urban transport, and until the advent of major transformations
in transport technology in the nineteenth century, most cities were structured in ways that supported walkability.
Today, there is a change in transportation which emphasizes, the traditional pedestrian paths which are increasingly
becoming non-regulated spaces when compared to the urban spaces for automobile modes. This change in emphasis
is noticeable partly because urban walkability has rarely been planned for in the past few decades and ultimately may
replace our automobile dependency. It has brought enormous changes to urban landscape in recent times particularly
in the developed world. Automobile dependency comes in different ways, forms and degrees. For instance, there
are few cities worldwide that are absolutely automobile dependent (where driving is the only form of transport).
Even areas that appear to be highly automobile dependent often have a noteworthy amount of walking, cycling and
transit travel among certain groups or in certain areas, although use of these modes tends to be undercounted by
conventional transportation planning. Contemporarily, reducing car dependency has been discussed broadly in the
scientific community by professionals in the built environment and of course by the general public. With increasing
vehicular streets worldwide, it raises a swirl of questions, how did we get to this point of automobile dependency and
are the alternatives more desirable? In answering this question, this paper identified and discussed extensively thirteen
major distinct trends that are responsible for the automobile dependencies in most cities of the world.