In 2007, under contract to the UK Department for Transport, we engaged with the public about the infrastructure to supply hydrogen for transport. We combined a quota-sample survey of 1003 across three disparate ‘travel-to-work areas’ in England with focus groups representative of them. We informed the groups ‘at arm's length’ through a purpose-made video, composed with advice from a hydrogen scientist and made by professional broadcasters. Participants saw benefits in hydrogen energy. None rejected it on safety grounds, though many discussed the risks. The costs were considered a problem. ‘The public’ was not of one mind. Regular car drivers were unwilling to reduce their car use. Bus users, cyclists and walkers often sought improvements in air quality. Motorists knew more than others about hydrogen energy. In discussion we seek psychological and socio-cultural explanations for these results. We conclude by drawing out implications for the future of hydrogen in transport.
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