In a nutshell, many American transit systems are underused not because the cities they serve are too small, but because the places they stop at are places people don’t want to be on foot.
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.
As I’ve shown in my latest book, creating the car-free city is possible, and urgently necessary, right now. We have all the technical and policy know-how. But we lack a vision of how it could be different, and the recognition that far from a sacrifice, it will bring mainly improvements, rather than constraints, to our lives. Such visions are necessary.
While new light-rail systems, subways, inter-urban commuter trains all have their place, simply giving buses preference on existing roads could improve urban quality of life while bringing carbon emissions down – long before the planning and approval process for new train lines is complete.
But if I could get to the bus stop, a mile and a half away, I could board a comfortable air-conditioned bus with connections to many points downtown and elsewhere in the county. Stops are much closer along the routes, but the nearest route is inconveniently far away. I hope someday to see a bus line closer to home. Until then, I consider my neighbors and I to be Transportation Disadvantaged.
The healthiest cities in the world have one thing in common; a network of trains, trolleys, trams, subways, buses, and other ways of getting around that don’t depend on everyone having a personal vehicle.
Early one cold winter morning back in 2008, Alex Lawrie of Somerset Co-op Services was shivering on the Yeovil railway platform when he had an idea.
Is it possible that we could get where we want to be and ship our goods where they need to go without any use of fossil fuels?
Buenos Aires is fast becoming one of the most admired cities in the world when it comes to reinventing streets and transportation.
•U.S. Public Transit Reports Record Ridership in 2013 •Fitch Ratings: Failure to Invest in Transit Could Hurt the Whole Economy •Copenhagen Free Bike Rental •Evolution of the Bicycle
•Hamburg’s Plan to Eliminate Cars in 20 Years •The Ridiculous Sky Cycle by Norman Foster •We Need to Design Parking Garages With a Car-less Future in Mind •It’s not the economy, stupid; young people really are turning their backs on cars •The Rise (and All-Around Awesomeness) of Open Streets
“Why on earth would we go back in time 70 years to model our current cities on?” Because it worked.