Transport practices in Amish communities

2015-02-18T09:19:44Z (GMT) by James P. Warren Marcus Enoch
Car ownership is growing in many countries, but whilst beneficial to individuals in many cases, this trend has often resulted in significant economic, social and environmental costs to society more generally. In researching possible solutions, one approach is to look at particular areas or communities that exhibit less reliance on the car or are even ‘car free’ to some extent, in order to see if lessons can be learnt. Accordingly, this study seeks to define and characterise transport practices in Amish communities – in groups located across the United States and Canada – which for religious reasons have eschewed the car. Specifically, the paper draws on a comprehensive literature and archival review, supplemented with expert interviews, to briefly outline Amish beliefs and traditions and then relate how these influence the mobility of people by mode, journey purpose, community, and stage of life. The study considers mobility by utilising twelve broad mobilities as motivations, along with examples applied across six suggested stages of life. The twelve motivations considered are: migration; business/profession; discovery; medical related; military related; post-employment; trailing travel; travel across modes; travel for service work; tourist travel; visiting friends/relatives; work or commuting. The six life stages considered include infancy, preschool, scholars, young people, adults and old folks. The impacts of Amish transport are then considered with respect to society more broadly but also for each of the life stages.