Making the human case for fewer cars in our lives

If you’re lucky enough to have visited Delft, you’ll have enjoyed a glimpse of just how civilised a ‘low-car’ city can be. In 2019, mobility experts Melissa and Chris Bruntlett began a new adventure there. They packed up their family in Vancouver and moved to Delft to experience the cycling city as residents rather than as visitors.

Curbing Traffic: The Human Case for Fewer Cars in Our Lives, chronicles their experience living in the Netherlands and the benefits of treating cars as visitors rather than owners of the road. They weave their personal story with research and interviews to share the experience of living in a city designed for people.

In the planning field, little attention is given to the effects that a low-car city can have on the human experience at a psychological and sociological level. Studies are beginning to surface that indicate the impact that external factors, such as sound, can have on our stress and anxiety levels. Or how the systematic dismantling of freedom and autonomy for children and the elderly to travel through their cities is causing isolation and dependency.

In Curbing Traffic, the Bruntletts explain why these investments in improving the built environment are about more than just getting from place to place more easily and comfortably. The insights will help decision makers and advocates to better understand and communicate the human impacts of low-car cities: lower anxiety and stress, increased independence, social autonomy, inclusion, and improved mental and physical wellbeing.

The book is organised around the benefits that result from thoughtfully curbing traffic, resulting in a city that is: child-friendly, connected, trusting, feminist, quiet, therapeutic, accessible, prosperous, resilient, and age-friendly.

Win a copy of Curbing Traffic

We have a copy of Curbing Traffic: The Human Case for Fewer Cars in Our Lives to give away. Simply leave us a comment at the bottom of the page and we’ll pick a name next week.

The ethical choice

The ETA was established in 1990 as an ethical provider of green, reliable travel services. Over 30 years on, we continue to offer cycle insurance, breakdown cover  and mobility scooter insurance while putting concern for the environment at the heart of all we do.

The Good Shopping Guide judges us to be the UK’s most ethical provider.



  1. james


    its not roses

  2. Ben Young


    I hope the new Highway Code changed will make our road culture more similar to that of the Netherlands.

  3. Johnny Faro


    I’d love this book to lend to a few people

  4. Anne Damerell


    What bliss that would be! Safer quieter roads, clean air to breathe, front gardens usable again, people coming by to chat. Bus services better and cheaper because used by more people. Shops and services becoming more local. Ahh!

    • Helen


      We are off to Pontevedra this summer to see what a car free city has to offer. Sounds like this would be an excellent read before we go…

  5. Ema A


    Cleaner air! and easy riding

  6. John Davidson


    Would love a copy of this book – and would love to live in Delft!

  7. Kath McNulty


    Buying the book anyway and booking a ferry that will take Franco and I, our touring bikes and Flic our Huntaway xCollie in her Tail Wagon. Delft- here we come on holiday! 😀

  8. Gavin


    … the days of unfettered driving; being able to just jump in your car on a whim and travel the length of the country are coming to an end. Travel will become a luxury item. The poor can forget it – they’ll have to make do with getting about locally. As always, in this rotten through to the core capitalist society – only the rich will be able to enjoy the privilege of unfettered travel. Welcome to dystopian nothing Great about it anymore Britain. Thank Christ I haven’t any children.

  9. Clive Jones


    This book on Delft won’t get shelved

  10. Susan Lancaster


    Have cycled in Delft and it is like dying and going to heaven! We have so much to learn from the Dutch when it comes to taming motorised traffic. Would love to read this book and pass it on to others.

  11. Sharon


    Now that looks like a book worth clearing some time for.

  12. Yousaf Mirza


    This book could help drive change. A great idea to share experience 👍

  13. Richard


    I recommend Twitter users follow the Brundtland , gives a real taste of living in a city made for people

  14. Andy


    If I win this book I will cycle to Deflt in the summer and ask them to sign it 🙂

  15. Paul


    I say

  16. Tim Earl


    No pun intended.

  17. Mike Raine


    I don’t think we ever consciously gave motor vehicles the right of way on our roads, they just assume it. I’d love to read this book to understand the Dutch perspective on manging these spaces which were, after all developed by pedestrians, horse riders and cyclists.

  18. Anthony Rogers


    The Bruntletts are modern day pioneers.

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