Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Logic Disconnect

We discussed the moves by the Dallas Ft. Worth region to move forward with a regional transit network but some skeptics still don't understand how things work as it pertains to automobiles. In a Fort Worth Star Telegram article, the following is mentioned.

Others argued that technological improvements to cars might improve the region’s air pollution, making commuter rail unnecessary. "It’s likely that by 2011 we’re going to see a lot of electric automobiles on the road," said Dave McElwee, president of the Tarrant Alliance for Responsible Government. "Ridership will go down."

I'm constantly amazed by the technophiles that are hoping some magic electric car will rise making transit useless. The problem with this is even if you built a car like that, the roads still need to be expanded to accommodate them. Also, with the increases in VMT expected from hybrid cars making people more mobile, energy consumption still continues to rise. So while there might be electric cars at some point, mobility still creates issues. The human condition causes a problem in that for work people need to be close to each other but the dispersed living arrangement causes a need for greater infrastructure to accommodate mobility.

I also don't see what people have wrong with transit. The narrative in this country has been driving for so long by suburbanites, it discounts the feelings of urban dwellers. In places with well run transit, movement is so easy, and city life is their choice. When I was in Budapest and Vienna, I couldn't imagine having a car in that city. The Metro came every 3 minutes and urban form made all trips convenient by walking. Even here in San Francisco, I can get where I need to go easily by walking or using transit. It's silly to think about getting in my car, yet there are still car driven policies, pushed by those might as well be living in the suburbs.

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