26 Jun 2010

The trouble with cars

The trouble with cars is,
  1. They take up too much space and are therefore literally toxic to civilised urban life.
  2. One is moving the best part of 1000kg of which less than 20% consists of actual payload.
  3. Rubber-on-tarmac is inefficient compared to steel-on-steel.
  4. Car-based transport requires the individual to invest in and operate a very expensive and fast-depreciating item of complex and sophisticated capital equipment.
  5. Cars are a huge waste of time as it is impossible to spend time travelling in them in a productive way.
Off course we all use cars because when patterns of travel are very diverse, there is no other option. But we should not be using cars for journeys in densely built-up areas, and we should also be thinking whether land-use planning is forcing people into the unnecessary use of cars.

No technological breakthrough is going to resolve all of the drawbacks of cars as we know them today. We need a better mix of modes, including walking, cycling, buses, trams, heavy rail as well as cars. Which needs the right mix of infrastructure to make it possible to travel by different modes as appropriate.

Somehow, though, I don't think we are going to get it in Britain.

1 comment:

  1. I like what you say Phys (please forgive the familiarity), but I think you're missing something here. People don't go by car just for reasons of utility, do they? Every advertiser knows we love cars for the romance and sensuality of movement that they provide - nothing at all to do with time and money savings really. It's almost as illogical as believing that high speed rail is going to create jobs in depressed areas for economic reasons. Look at 'Fast Forward' - it's all images representing speed and style (even though it is a 1970s style product and brand). There isn't any scientifical basis to the assertion that the thing will generate business activity. In fact, the only hard evidence that exists indicates the contrary, i.e. that the costs will suck the blood of more effective savings/investments. I suggest you have a look at the research done for the DfT at