Britain isn't that high up the world league table for vehicle ownership https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_c ... per_capita
particularly in comparison with other so called advanced nations. High ownership appears more related to the wealth of a nation rather than how good it's public transport is. For example Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands have much better public transport networks than the UK. All have higher vehicle ownership. All are wealthier. It seems that if people can afford to buy cars they will.
First of all, the biggest factors are history of car ownership, capitalist economic development (rather than wealth), and population density.
Second of all, that table is rather misleading, although only a typically statistical way. They show you the average without the distribution.
In the UK, there is a big gap between households with a median or higher income and low-income households, where more than half do not have a car. The UK, however, has many households with two or more cars, and the poor are disproportionately disadvantaged by not having cars. They have more difficulty accessing necessary services, and spend more time commuting and travelling to and from services than people with cars. In addtion 2/3rds of poor job seekers do not have a car, which limits their access to jobs. Although some households int he UK choose not to have cars, the majority are car-less households are in transport poverty. Since 2002 there have been more households with access to two or more cars/vans than without any access at all. (see figure 13 of https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulation ... ailability
In the Netherlands, which holds a very near place on the linked table, fewer households have two or more cars, and those that have no cars, are less liekly to experience transport poverty.
Here's a study about the economics of car ownership across several countries. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/a ... 1214602429
Here's a paper about transport poverty http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/94663/1/ ... lectic.pdf
Some statistics about transport poverty http://www.poverty.org.uk/75/index.shtml
And just for a bit of fun, a study about the role of the bicycle in a transport poverty... https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Ka ... rlands.pdf
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