Towards the end of last year, car pollution came under the scrutiny of some UK politicians who recommended that new schools, care homes and hospitals should be built far away from major roads because of the dangers of air pollution.
In Europe, there was a similar anti-car theme, when, around the same time, the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, announced she wanted to ban diesel cars and the pollution they bring from the streets of the French capital.
The Mayor also wanted to limit traffic in pollution hotspots, by only allowing ultra-low emission vehicles within them. In addition, new speed limits were mooted of 18 mph (30 km/h).
These proposals would be a major challenge in France with around 80 per cent of the cars on the country’s roads being diesel-powered.
From next month, France will start applying stickers to vehicles emitting the most pollution; diesel cars more than 13 years old will get a red sticker.
It is clear there is a mini backlash against cars at present, but where does all this leave current transport policy and how can engineers influence it?