If more people drove smart, there would be a reduction in traffic congestion, a report by independent consultants has proved.
Capita Symonds carried out extensive field tests on the effect of driving small cars, like the smart fortwo, on traffic congestion, compared to conventional sized cars.
The results showed that three smart fortwo can pass through a set of traffic lights in the same time as two average sized cars. The report found that in the same way as rush hour traffic levels reduce during school holidays, a similar effect could be obtained throughout the year if there were a significant increase in the proportion of smarts on the road.
The study tested congestion at road junctions on the public roads. Traffic was recorded by video on a weekday during busy conditions. To test the difference, a convoy of smart fortwo vehicles was recorded passing through the same area over a two-hour period on a weekend when other traffic flows were much lighter.
Peter Mynors, FICE FIHT, Consultant with the Transport Planning Department of Capita Symonds, said: "smart was the only car brand widely available that met the criteria of being short in length, with a small engine, and sufficiently comfortable to be a credible vehicle for company fleets or commuters."
He continued: "The average car occupancy for journeys to work in the UK is 1.2 persons* and most commuters carry only minimal luggage. In cars with four seats this means that half the vehicle on commuter journeys is ‘dead space’. With more households owning more than one car, it makes sense for one of these cars to have two seats rather than four."
Jeremy Simpson, Head of smart in the UK and Ireland, said: "This research proves what we have always known. The only true way to improve congestion is if families buy a small car specifically for the daily commute."
Since the launch in September 2000, close to 29,000 fortwo models have been sold in the UK.
The smart fortwo range starts from £6,810 OTR.
*The average car occupancy for commuter journeys in the UK is 1.2 persons.* Source: UK National Travel Survey 2001, table 4.5Published 19 March 2005