Car harm: A global review of automobility's harm to people and the environment

Patrick Miner*, Barbara M. Smith, Anant Jani, Geraldine McNeill, Alfred Gathorne-Hardy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Despite the widespread harm caused by cars and automobility, governments, corporations, and individuals continue to facilitate it by expanding roads, manufacturing larger vehicles, and subsidising parking, electric cars, and resource extraction. This literature review synthesises the negative consequences of automobility, or car harm, which we have grouped into four categories: violence, ill health, social injustice, and environmental damage. We find that, since their invention, cars and automobility have killed 60–80 million people and injured at least 2 billion. Currently, 1 in 34 deaths are caused by automobility. Cars have exacerbated social inequities and damaged ecosystems in every global region, including in remote car-free places. While some people benefit from automobility, nearly everyone—whether or not they drive—is harmed by it. Slowing automobility's violence and pollution will be impracticable without the replacement of policies that encourage car harm with policies that reduce it. To that end, the paper briefly summarises interventions that are ready for implementation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103817
JournalJournal of Transport Geography
Issue numberFebruary
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2024

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Automobility
  • Externalities
  • Pollution
  • Public health
  • Social justice
  • Traffic fatalities


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