How Many SOVs Don’t Need to be in Rush Hour?

Note:  SOV == Single Occupancy Vehicle, which is what about 98%+ of cars on the road are, one driver operating the vehicle on an inefficient trip to do X.

As I was sitting on the bus, which was actively removing over 90 people from SOV use I started thinking.  How many of these people do NOT need to be on the road?  How many people are confused and just think they need to be SOV?  How many of these people could take transit, could live in a better location or more intelligently?  How many of these people, if auto transport wasn’t so heavily subsidized, could even afford to be taking frivolous trips like this?  How much wealth redistribution through transportation dollars encourages needless trips that clog Interstates, Highways, arterials and other routes?  Not to even mention the environmental damage of the excess and unneeded trips.

Common Fallacies for People Living in Smart and Intelligent Cities

“I need a car because of X situation that I have!”

This is a nonsense argument for the vast majority of people traveling to and from work.  If X is a child, or a last minute errand to run on the way home, or other item that is an outlier situation to the normal commute.  So many people use this excuse and have not thought through their situation.

If you have a child all the more reason to encourage more intelligent, non-auto centric lifestyles.

If the child is sick or injures themselves at school, which is the often cited argument, it doesn’t hold up because if it is a big enough emergency you DO NOT and SHOULD NOT drive directly to them.  The emergency services in the United States are for that specific reason.  They’ll most likely get there before you and you’ll most likely endanger lives of those around you “hurrying” to get to your child.  If the child just needs picked up from school, in most cities there are a number of alternatives to you running to them and bringing them home.  There are taxies, zip car options, and more.  You just have to think without the absurdity of saying it is a necessity for you to maintain and keep an entire car just for the sole purpose of an emergency that may or may not happen.

If you’re excuse is even less, such as X being something like karate class or a meetup after work, then again the planning you have done is poor.  If you live in any decent city, if you’re traveling so far out of your way for a meetup that it requires a car you’ve grossly mismanaged your life.  Keep things close, keep things local to you, keep things within reasonable reach.

…and don’t just do these things because it’s more intelligent to use transit and be a more responsible member of society.  Do it because it servers YOU better.  Imagine not paying auto insurance, having a wide selection of cars at your disposal instead of JUST ONE (ZipCar, Rentals, etc), imagine no car payment, no maintenance, not paying for gas(ZipCar), not worrying about “parking” every time you go downtown, not having to step into the most dangerous mode of transport in the country.  Just imagine not having to deal with those things.  With a little thinking – in the good & smart cities in the US – you can get rid of these concerns and problems.  You can be a part of the citizenry that isn’t causing the problems associated with the sprawl.

…and I promise you, your life will be better lived for it.

Here are a few of the cities where people should and could drive less en masse.

  • Portland, OR
  • Seattle, WA
  • Chicago, IL (already a heavy transit usage city, but more could be done)
  • New York, NY (also already a heavy transit use city at over 50% of the city using transit, but again, there is more that could be done to get rid of frivolous and unneeded trips)
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Los Angeles, CA (transit is amazingly making a huge come back in LA)
  • San Diego, CA
  • Boston, MA
  • New Orleans, LA
  • Denver, CO
  • Miami, FL
  • Tacoma, WA
  • Sacramento, CA

All of these cities, and there are more too, are cities that offer enough transit, bike, and other alternatives that more people should really think through and look at options besides car ownership or leasing.  There are literally millions of trips per day, millions of gallons of fuel, millions of hours of congestion time, and millions of dollars to save if additional people just think through their lifestyle paradigms a little.

It doesn’t take much, just being smarter about your day.  I’m done with my transit rant of the day.  So help me though, if someone comes up with the above excuse again I’m gonna…

Live better, peace! – Transit Sleuth

A Ton To Write…

I need a vacation.  Not to go somewhere exotic, but just to stop and write up my latest bits of travel and such.  Some of the things I’d really, really like to get to soon.

  • The Things Seattle Needs:  Bike Corrals, Better Green Box Campaigns, and Harder access for Suburbanites, and finally a few slower streets and more quite in Belltown and residential areas after 5:00pm.
  • What Seattle is doing right on the way to the future:  Streetcar on Broadway, Light Rail to U-District, and Light Rail to Redmond.
  • Why the 520 Expansion is unparalleled ignorance the the measurable facts.
  • Why Vancouver, Canada makes Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco look like they’re clueless about transit, confused about livability, and generally makes most American Cities look like 3rd world hovels by comparison.

That’s just a few that I have in the queue.  There are lots more, but my time has literally disappeared in 2010 as I’ve re-focused heavily in my career.

Hopefully I still have a few of you guys (Al M, Chad, and others) out there checking or subscribed via RSS feed.  😉

Anyway, I’m hustling and hope to have the bits about Vancouver up sooner than later!