Car-dependent neighbourhoods arise in a multi-level framework of planning, subsidies, advertising campaigns and cultural choices.
A car-dependent society isn’t built overnight. It takes concerted effort by multiple levels of government and industry to make private cars the go-to, all-but-obligatory choice for everyday personal transportation.
The consequences of car parking include the atrophy of many inner-city communities; a crisis of affordable housing; environmental damages including but not limited to greenhouse gas emissions; and the continued incentivization of suburban sprawl.
Although Tom Standage’s book is billed as A Brief History of Motion, it is really about the long century of the car.
Traffic congestion studies make for quick and easy news articles, but they don’t even begin to calculate the true time lost to car culture.
Welcome to the modern world. Just at the point in history when we needed to manage our consumption, we had installed all the conditions for a fossil-fuel driven boom in consumerism.
It would be folly to continue building bulky, heavy, massively overpowered vehicles to move one or two passengers along roads, and therefore devoting a huge share of our still scarce clean power supplies to building and/or operating that oversized vehicle fleet.
Increasing mobility services for the world’s poorest people, while decreasing motorized mobility for the wealthiest, is not only an environmental necessity, it is also a matter of equity.
Marohn argues that the questions of whether traffic should move slow or fast, and whether all existing traffic should be accommodated or instead should be restricted, are not technical issues – they are questions of values, questions of public policy.
For a hundred years the auto industry has held out visions of a trouble-free future for drive-everywhere society – and that future is always about 20 years away. Peter Norton urges us to see the current hype about automated vehicles in the cold light of the failed promises of the past.
I’ll also point out that while one set of choices is promoted, reinforced, and made as convenient as possible, the other set is shamed, challenged, or made as dangerous as possible.
Mainstream environmentalism, while advocating a swift and thorough transition to zero-carbon technologies, clings to the belief that we can, will, indeed, we absolutely must retain our high-speed cars and trains…