Cars are suffocating the cities of the world. Some city leaders are taking steps to restrict the entry of cars into key areas, but no country has advocated reducing car production. On the contrary: China produces about 25 million cars a year and the United States about 10 million, which adds to the 1.5 billion cars already on the streets and highways. There seems to be little awareness of the problem on the streets starting up B end Of the production line.
It’s time to think differently about how we deploy cars – and produce far fewer of them.
Cars are brilliant inventions – our magic rugs. The magic, however, diminishes as their numbers increase, and their sheer numbers make them a great threat to the environment. The car fleet in the world has become huge because the vast majority of production is made up of private cars. The market determines how many will be sold. No planning or public policy links car production to conditions in cities where cars are struggling for space.
Individual cars can be amazingly designed, but there is nothing beautiful – and much to blame – for heavy traffic, a parking lot or endless rows of parked cars. Cars cause constant noise and the constant threat of death or mutilation, especially to children, which we must assimilate in fear of getting off the sidewalk. (Road accidents kill about 38,000 and injure 3 million in the United States every year; worldwide they kill about 1.35 million and injure more than 25 million!) Moreover, vehicles contribute almost a third of the carbon dioxide emissions that pollute our air and heat a star Our halachah, making vast areas uninhabitable.
Electric cars may somewhat reduce carbon dioxide emissions, although they do pose other resource issues, such as the rare earth mining they require for their batteries. The real problem, however, is not the technology but attribute. If we saw cars as part of the public transportation systems in cities, Private Cars can be replaced at Publicc cars. Taxi-based taxis and services are forms of public cars. Vehicles can also be available on the sidewalk, activated by phone and paid by time and distance, like a rented car by the hour. Unlike private cars, such vehicles will spend much less time in the parking lot and are useless. Car2Go and other services tried this, but had to compete with private cars roaming the streets. Public cars place strict restrictions – load pricing or a total ban – on private cars entering places like Manhattan, and also restrictions on the number of vehicles for rent.
Reducing private car production will not have to eliminate factories. During World War II, the production lines of vehicles quickly moved to tanks and jeeps. They could now be reused to produce trains, subways, trams and bicycles.
Cars can be socially useful but today they are to blame for much of our troubles. They symbolize the main ecological problem: that is, our insistence on seeing things as private and detached from each other. When the shiny and powerful cars roll off the production line we do not connect them with the air and landscape they will abuse. We do not connect actions with consequences, a defect that we criticize in individuals but ignore in the system that surrounds us. We must require environmental impact statements in vehicle manufacturing plants, not to open up congestion pricing.
Some saw at an early stage that the car was not a magic rug but a weapon aimed at the heart of the city. B “Vehicle life” (1929) Ilya Ehrenberg wrote, “The car was the new deity. Everyone had to kneel and worship it. Argo: had to lower the cost … [M. Citroen] Produced its new model: 5HP. At everyone’s fingertips! … The streets of Paris have become dangerous. “
Nowadays it can be said on the streets of all the cities of the world. The problem starts with the production line. We need to produce a lot less cars; Many of them should be public vehicles and not private property.
Safe Street activist David Gorin was a DDeputy Commissioner of the Ministry of Transportation in the city during the Koch administration.