It was also pointed out that these educational efforts will need to take into account the powerful influence of the media and advertising on the public psyche. Most of today's car advertisements tout the virtues of unlimited travel, high power, and the ability to ‘conquer ' nature. Changing this message to emphasize the benefits of clean transportation could go a long way towards aiding the market penetration of new vehicles and changing people's use patterns.
Dan Sperling emphasized the need to consider long term goals. While most people want to have both an effective transportation sector and a clean environment, should this ultimately be achieved through universal ownership of pollution-free cars? universal use of transit? greatly reduced travel altogether? Of course, the optimal strategy will often depend on local or regional conditions. Francisco Guzman, from the Instituto Mexicano del Petroleo, noted that modeling studies are thus an important tool for evaluating the effectiveness of different strategies. These models, however, need to be comprehensive in nature, integrating technological, environmental, social, and economic factors, and they must consider the non-linear responses in both social and physical systems.
Mauricio Fortes, from Academia Mexicana de Ciencias, emphasized that these questions about long term goals are particularly poignant when looking at Mexico and other developing countries around the world. Most people in these countries hope to emulate the high-consuming lifestyle of more affluent societies, so the solutions will require not just technological and policy shifts, but paradigm shifts as well.
Finally, Sperling pointed out that addressing these problems in a comprehensive manner requires better integration between the transportation and atmospheric science communities. One immediate benefit of the workshop was simply the opportunity for such a diverse group of experts to share information and learn the ‘language' of each other's fields. But true interdisciplinary cooperation means more than just occasional conferences or consultations, it requires sustained collaboration in research and modeling studies, policy development, and education.