Also, I can comment on one thing I personally enjoy a lot – walking. I lived in many European cities, and recently moved to USA, so I can comment on it. To be able to walk, you need to live close enough to your work / some places of interest (like ~3–4 km is a threshold usually), the path should be interesting and beautiful.
USA fails miserably at "interesting and beautiful" part. Grid system makes it super boring, a lot of buildings are just a relatively small building and huge parking space around. There are no parks in between, no yards – moreover, you can bump into unsafe places!
Architecture (in downtowns) is straight up horrible (although it is subjective). So, after couple of walks I have no desire altogether to walk around anymore – it is dirty, ugly, in some places overcrowded (since everybody works at the same spot in the downtown and time, essentially).
For example, many readers here may be familiar with San Jose, and itis not a good walking city, but it is not true that it has no yards or parks, and I think the residential architecture is lovely. In portions it suffers very much from parking lot islands, and the businesses are very centralized, not much mix of housing and business.
But if you want to stroll nowhere in particular it ain't bad. On the near north side you can look at the foothills from that park by the elementary school on 22nd ish, then walk down Empire, stop at 13th street, grab a donut and watch people play tennis, handball or volleyball in the park. Then you couldstay there or head south to Naglee Park Garage for dinner (well, maybe that place closed), southwest to downtown for a drink, or just over to 6th street and get groceries or walk around in the little japantown.
Funny question, but in the US does 'grabbing' something not have a bad connotation? When I hear 'grab a donut' my English mind sees you smashing your fist through the glass of the counter, taking a doughnut, and running off.
There was also the adaptation from cities that were built when walking and horses were the main transportation modes which remain amenable to walking today.
All said, it seems like a renewed interest in the impact of urban design on things like walkability and livability have come back into fashion and some cities are taking their cues from that with their urban renewal projects. As a really interesting example of that has been the evolution of zoning laws which allow for mixed use buildings (commercial and residential) which are sprouting up all around the Bay Area. This is something that was pretty much unthinkable in the late 90's.
- For pre-tank times, makes it a lot harder for strangers (e.g. intruding enemies) to get oriented.
- For more modern neighborhoods, make the roads confusing so cars won't take a shortcut through and bypass the main road. (--> keep unnecessary cars out of living areas since they are dangerous to kids on the street and the noise and air pollution is bad)
Alas Waze and its ilk are breaking that system in a lot of European cities. It's now quite common to have quiet residential streets suddenly turn gridlock when some algorithm has correctly-but-malevolently decided it's a good shortcut for everyone getting from the office to the freeway.
When I think of a future powered by AI, I think of that kind of logic casually extinguishing all life on the planet.
I wonder when it is going to be fashionable to intentionally do shit again rather than passively half-living through digital agents.
American cities are designed for cars. Not people or people on bikes.
You would think that new developments would not continue this insanity and yet they are still allowed by city planners to cut corners.
I went to a college in the suburbs of Long Island and the road outside campus was a two-lane road with a speed limit of 55 with no sidewalks. To walk outside of the cities is to invite death.
And this is before we get into things like the lack of adequate marked, signalized crosswalks that are common throughout America: https://usa.streetsblog.org/2018/01/17/between-your-bus-stop...
I've spent nearly all my life in (Northern) California and Nevada, though, so YMMV elsewhere.
Sidewalks, signals, and crosswalks all give the illusion of safety. Either the cars are behaving well and you can just step aside, or they are misbehaving and you'll need a concrete barrier to stop them. The signals and crosswalks mean that cars are revving their engines near me, making the air I breathe worse, so I'd rather do without.
This is assuming that the road something you can walk next to. And it's not amazing advice for roads with blind corners and such.
Sidewalks do actually help; drivers respond to their built environment, and most drivers do not want to scuff their cars by hitting the curb or other obstacles in the road.
The real crux of the problem is that the suburbs have become surrounded and cut across by massive high-speed traffic moats which are inherently unsafe for pedestrians because of the speed differential. Yet to walk in the suburbs you can't avoid these moats. And dissuading people from walking is near impossible, since the poor are now migrating to suburban areas and they are the ones least likely to have cars due to the cost.
It depends on where you are. I lived in downtown Boston and walked everywhere. I had a choice of walking along the river, down the Commonwealth Avenue mall and through the public gardens, etc, etc.
That's what's wrong with indie cinema, documentaries and small movie projects. Another film I'm interested in, I'm ready to purchase and watch, yet I can't since it's not available anywhere, except for some screenings in a handful of places worldwide.
So it ends up as an easy to miss entry on my ever growing to do list hoping to be re-discovered and some day.
I understand (though not agree with) the argument for theatrical windows for big, mainstream blockbuster movies. However what is the point of artificially and severly limiting the availability of niche releases like these? Your target audience is already tiny - unnecessary barriers certainly don't help.
In contrast theaters literally beg studios that make blockbusters to let them project the film on as many screens as possible since these movies are expected to draw large crowds and popcorn and drink purchases.
And needless to say that it doesn't require a fancy projector to have a fine movie experience - most households have a big TV that comes close enough. For this kind of movie, however, audio/video equipment shouldn't be a concern at all.
What I'm trying to say is: Why screen the film at a very limited number of cinemas, which you might even have to pay when you could get paid by viewers directly?
Personally I don't really disagree with you; it would be great if good films were available on Amazon, Netflix, etc sooner.
> Grid system makes it super boring
> Architecture (in downtowns) is straight up horrible
Sounds like you've never been to Boston! Come on over, you'll love it. :)
It was still better than cities where the drivers are so oblivious of bikes (and pedestrians) that they wouldn't even notice if they ran you down. (looking at you Montreal)
i live in LA and walk often. it's great. the weather is awesome (60's and sunny today, in the middle of winter), i have dozens of good restaurants and cafes within walking distance, as is most of my shopping needs. parks, theaters, museums, bars, and other entertainment can be easily reached by walking. LA is a big city so not everything is right there, but everything i need day-to-day is.
The majority of people who live in LA, live somewhere nestled into the bigger sprawl that is the region. While there are plenty of neighborhoods that have walkable aspects, the city is by no means walkable (even with transit) to huge portions of the city.
I had all that when I was living in Westwood, which is far far far aaay from downtown, but I could have had that in belverly hills, or Culver City, or even (but just barely) Brentwood.
There is also a giant robot art gallery in sawtelle japan town, which I think is walkable, definitely bikeable.
my listed criteria wasn't even complete, just what came to mind in the 30 seconds i thought about it. there are plenty of neighborhoods that are walkable in LA (silverlake, hollywood, highland park, even north hollywood, etc.). the whole city doesn't need to be reachable by foot to be a walkable neighborhood.
sounds like your bar may be set particularly high or your assumptions about what you need to walk to may be extraordinary.
My definition would be could you live comfortably without ever using a car, such as being able to go grocery shopping without having to walk a ton, be near enough to the rail system such that you can get around easily, be in a neighborhood where going clothes shopping doesn't mean an inconvenient trip to a mall, ect.
i'll leave it to you to find the others, but one of my faves in culver city is the museum of jurassic technology (has a rooftop aviary): http://mjt.org/
> "My definition would be could you live comfortably without ever using a car"
that's a pretty high bar. how would you move in/out without a car/truck/van? carry everything by hand? i don't own a car but i use one periodically.
venice is super-walkable, and i'd guess it's better to live in the venice/santa monica bubble without a car than with, because getting out of the westside is awful by car for large parts of the day. within the bubble you can walk, bike, run, skate or scooter to just about anything you need.
but outside of LA proper, it's true that san bernardino, the inland empire, and the san fernando and san gabriel valleys generally are car-oriented, and it's unwieldy to live in those areas without a car (although there are pocket exceptions, particularly in the valleys).
The problem, is that Venice is what a regular suburban area should be like in terms of walkability, when for the most part, suburbs have nowhere to walk too.
Doesn't LA have literally the most polluted air in the country? Doesn't sound great for walking.
I know people who live in Downtown LA and don't own cars.
I get the impression there are several parts of LA you can live in without regularly driving, and still have a very normal lifestyle. Not sure about the air quality downtown but my friends didn't complain about it.
> Not sure about the air quality downtown but my friends didn't complain about it.
I think unhealthy air quality is dangerous long before you actively notice it. I'd rely on measurements instead of subjective impressions.
but it's the worst for ozone, where it's 80's reputation for smog comes from. to be fair, LA's air quality is far better than the 74 major cities in chinaa: https://www.latimes.com/world/asia/la-fg-china-la-smog-stats...
which is where a significant portion of the air polution comes from (enough to go from good to bad): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_pollution_in_the_United_St...
Can you elaborate on this? Are there places that are unsafe because they're full of knife-wielding maniacs? Or unsafe because they're full of un-signposted holes in the ground? Or some other kind of unsafe?
A transit system is extremely useful at a few very specific points, but your connectedness drops off sharply as you get even a few blocks away from it, due to the extreme inefficiency of walking or (worse) waiting for a connecting bus.
A road network’s utility is broad and diffuse, with gentle gradients of utility from place to place, as an extra few miles means little. Two points have to be very far apart indeed before they are noticeable different in terms of access/connectedness.
So it makes complete sense to me that transit-oriented cities should be higher-maximum-value, higher-variance, while car oriented cities should be lower—maximum-value but much more equal. Exactly what the article finds.
Also, are you controlling for the housing type? Condos in high rises (which are much more expensive than detached single family detached) tend to be concentrated near the trains.
Ive consistently had it take an hour to move ten miles regardless of the day of week to visit family in Milwaukee. At least a third of the drive I could see the Sears tower in the rear view mirror. Amtrak/metra is far superior to car ownership. Uber for local travel and is quite frankly cheaper with less aggravation because I don't have to deal with it. apparently honking your horn and not using a blinker is standard. Also just generally driving like a complete asshole. And don't get me started on the taxis. That entire industry in Chicago should go out of business. And cyclists seem to vary. Some are very respectful and will quickly stop for a j walker and politely say they shouldn't do that. Others run red lights and get pissed when you call them out for riding on the sidewalk.
Some startup should come with a device that is required for Chicago drivers... every time you honk your horn it costs 5-50 dollars. What are you fucking honking for there is 25-100 cars ahead of you not moving.
These sorts of land desirability drop-offs happen very quickly in Chicago, but that could just be a function of density. Commutes in Chicagoland aren't necessarily any worse (in terms of commuting time) than they are in other places I've been - you just end up with the pattern spreading over a much wider geographic area because cars spread everything out so much.
For example, Milwaukee's rough equivalent of Chicago's West Rogers Park is probably Menomonee Falls, which isn't even in the same county. But you've got a similar pattern where it's kind of off the beaten path, transportation-wise, which makes it relatively inexpensive compared to a more well-connected area like Tosa or Whitefish Bay.
I've noticed similar patterns in North Carolina, too - plenty of people I know in the Triangle have commutes that are well over an hour, and the communities from which it's easy to get to the major employers command a premium.
If anything, I feel like this is more argument about Chicago needing a less hub-and-spoke design to its rail transit. Out on the periphery, it's possible to get very far away from the rail lines. In a city this size, it's a major failing that anyone ends up living more than 2 miles away from rapid transit.
This would lead to even more Uber/Lyft drivers which already make traffic considerably worse in my experience.
I would not drive to work just because the train isn't within walking distance, because, yeah, not worth the time and stress and expense. Having to take a bus or ride a bike to get to the nearest train station doesn't add that much time to a commute.
There's so many factors that it's hard to make direct comparisons, but for example you can look at homes near the Irving Park blue line stop (which also next to a Metra stop) and then similar home just a few miles West where there are fewer transit options. It's a pretty drastic drop off in home prices for relatively comparable neighborhoods.
This was the segway model.
Rapid transit serves the most trips when either the source or destination (or both) are in the urban center. The road network is typically most congested in the urban center. Thus, transit reduces congestion in the areas that would otherwise be most congested, making the road network more useful.
Perhaps "car-oriented cities" simply haven't yet reached the density (and size of the high-density area) where transit becomes necessary.
That was an illusion. House prices are soaring in the inner suburbs (case in point: the Bay Area) to the point of complete unaffordability, forcing people out further and further from where they work and, consequently, creating situations where commuters drive for hours every day because there is no other choice.
To drive to the city, you have to find a place to park your car. As more people want to drive to access the amenities of a city (and they have to, because they might live more than an hour away as they can’t afford anything closer), they will need to pay more and more to park, because of the costs of real estate.
And tunnels are no panacea. The congestion created by single occupancy trips created by people who might be living an hour or more away from their destination will persist.
Density would go a long way to solving some of these problems. Simple things from lowering minimum lot sizes, to mid size apartments and condos, would increase access to home ownership. But we can’t have anything lowering those property prices, can we?
A controlled tunnel system would be easily driven by today's automatic cars. It pick you up and goes back home (no parking problem), runs on electricity from your sunny California rooftop solar array, and works as a peaker power source for the grid when you aren't using it. Bring me a future that is better than the past please.
Northern British industrial cities fit into that age bracket at the turn of the century.
Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle weren't spread out at that time.
Cities are basically gathering places. Shops, jobs, accommodation all gather there in a self reinforcing manner.
It follows that transport connections would influence that.
Walking, biking, and transit are not actually the same thing, except that they are "not driving". So it's more accurate to say that there are two kinds of commuters, those that take cars and those that don't. There's absolutely nothing new about this though. It's likely true that more people are not driving these days, but that's got more to do with the fact that more of us are living in large cities where it's simply not possible for everyone to drive, and where transit is more practical because of the density.
This notion that at some point in the future there will not be people commuting in cars is just dumb, and kind of tiresome. There's a lot of noise being generated by people who think driving a car is flat out immoral, and I'd contend this isn't a moral issue it's just a practical one, and I really wish it were treated this way.
I was surprised it wasn't a bigger difference myself.
It also appears buses are in the 1 order of magnitude range: http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/dwhs/info/Pages/OzonePublicTra..., https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2012/11/can-we-please...
When I went to college, all of my suburban friends hadn't done too much of any of that, because being in the suburbs before driving age requires a parent available to be your chauffeur. Anecdotally, they were also more prone to underage drinking before college, because they just couldn't go out and do much.
That being said, at an older age, I never had to take my children anywhere. Like you said, they walked, rode or took public transport.
Finally in my experience, city kids are just as prone to underage drinking as their suburban counterparts, possibly moreso because of the increased opportunity. What they don't do however, is drink and drive.
I'd say this is one of the main reasons for the popularity of video games and child obesity. Kids have no way of getting around so they are stuck at home.
The main ingredient that you need for carfree kids to work is usable transit. And by usable, I mean it was frequent; if I missed my bus I would only ever be waiting 10-15 minutes for the next one. Everything I could want to go to would be reachable by bus in 40 minutes or less.
If you were to take a map of most American cities' bus networks and only showed routes that ran every 10-15 or better throughout the middle of the day on weekdays, an awful lot of them would be mostly blank. Even more if you were to require that for Saturdays as well, and pretty much all of them for the entire week. Provide the transit and people will ride; it's how Seattle managed to buck a national trend of declining bus ridership.
For me, a load of groceries fills 3 shopping carts in the store (packed to the top and overflowing) and 4 once bagged. That seems to be about 42 cubic feet (1.2 cubic meters) of food, with weight likely approaching a ton. I still have to buy a bit more during the week, since we go through about 2 gallons of milk per day and I'm just not going to attempt bringing home and storing 14 gallons of milk.
I use a 3-ton vehicle by curb weight. It can be a 5-ton vehicle when filled. The 5.4L V8 gets 11 MPG in the city. It's actually fuel-efficient on a per-person basis when I fill most of the 15 seats with people; think of it as 3 times a 5-seat vehicle that does 33 MPG.
Most people fit their week's worth of groceries in a grocery cart, and manage to push that around the store. I really don't understand why it's crazy to think you could tow them home with a bicycle. Plenty of people do this. It's a bit out of the norm in the U.S., yes. But don't for a second think it's impossible, or even particularly challenging.
So they aren't the same, but they do go hand in hand quite a lot. I don't think there's any implication in the article that they are the same.
As a visitor to the US, the main thing that strikes me is always the vast amount of car related space there. Wider roads, massive car parks. Places with no sidewalk!
And I'm also surprised at the two places I thought would have more public transport usage. Really, only 30% of NYC? I guess it's sparse outside Manhattan? SF I kinda understand because what I saw of the underground looked way too small for a city of several million.
So for the large majority of residents, a car will still be a necessity. Even Manhattanites will eventually feel the need buy/rent a car so they can do things like go to a forest or a quiet beach for a day.
Many people are just largely stuck to public transit lines of course. But the demographic that is actually moving into cities (college educated professionals) mostly doesn’t think that way.
This is just the nature of public transit outside city centers: they will have a hub-and-spokes shape. That's because this shape suits the needs of pretty much everybody: travel from one spoke to another is way less common than travel to and from the center, and if you really need that route and can't afford the time of going through the hub, most metros cover the concentric routes it with lighter options (like two-digit NJTransit busses and the Hudson-Bergen light rail).
The corner cases of suburb-to-suburb trips and short distance vacations aren't important enough to necessitate complete infrastructure capitulation to drivers.
And for the vast majority of New Yorkers, a car isn't necessary. Car ownership is around 45% in New York City, and that number goes way down if you exclude Staten Island and the outer parts of Queens and Brooklyn that don't get subway service.
Taxis don't count as "public transport" here.
We all talk about trying to get people our of their cars, but imho isn't all about cities or even transport systems. Imho it is about jobs. The great divide is between those who work in places that support alternative to private vehicles and those that do not.
If your employer wants you to work changing hours on short notice, public transport doesn't work. Asking someone to show up an hour earlier than normal is difficult if that means they won't have a bus/train available. I want to see studies comparing various sectors. I'd bet good money that those working government and/or education jobs (the college towns in the above quote) are less likely to drive cars to work. And conversely, those who work private sector jobs (swing shifts, late hours, on-call etc) are more likely to drive cars.
Personally, I now work in a government job (military) with a few hundred people in one building. Lots of people do bike/walk/run to work. We have bus stop right in front of our base, but nobody uses it. It just isn't reliable. Our bosses don't want to hear that we are late because the bus was stuck in traffic. We also sometimes have to work strange hours/shifts. Sometimes our day ends "whenever it ends". 2000 quickly becomes 0300. Will the bus get me home at a random hour and with enough time to sleep before the morning? My car/bike/feet sure will.
I lived in Seoul for close to a year without a car. I never used a taxi and never looked up or planed my routes before I left home/work/shop/etc. The longest I remember waiting for a train/bus was around 4minutes. In this instance, I saw my bus pulling away as I was walking up. There was another of the same bus in line behind 3 other buses.
I have lived in Denver without a car for close to 4 years. I pay 4x as much in public transit fees, I know all train times and bus times by heart and I plan when I leave based on those times. I usually bike to/from the train because it is literally faster than the bus stop less than 100ft from my house.
We have a chicken and egg problem.
Edit: God I miss the trains in Seoul. I don't know if they had times but the rule seemed to be if a train was pulling out, you just had to wait for the next train to finish pulling in.
In London I could drive or get public transport. Depending on where I go, one could be faster or slower. Generally, for non-radial journeys further out, driving will be faster.
But in terms of reliability/variance the public transport option will almost always be better for journeys of longer than ten minutes or so.
Buses have bus lanes - aside from the small delay of people getting on or off, they strictly cannot suffer more variance than a car because they have priority over cars for some subsection of the route.
Trains... well, trains run on tracks. There are service interruptions, sure, but those are far less frequent than traffic jams or accidents on the road or whatever.
(I'm talking here about all journeys. Commuting, not commuting, whatever.)
The stereotypical rural (or bad city urban) bus that comes every 20-30 minutes with no real adherence to any timetable, no live arrivals information or anything else sours people on public transport.
I grew up in Oklahoma and you pretty much have to have a car. Huge amount of land, not many people. Virtually no public transportation.
I moved to the Bay Area back in 2000 and car-pooled for exactly one year of that time and then took BART the other 16 years before moving to Chicago. Even though I like driving I really hate traffic. Why would I sit in traffic when I can read/sleep/work/etc. It was cheaper as well. I wouldn't even talk about a different job unless they were within reasonable distance to a BART station.
I moved to Chicago recently and now take Metra (commuter train) and then walk 15 minutes. It's a little sucky in winter (today was 16 F, Friday is expected to be -6 F in the morning - dress in layers and have warm boots). Even then, I wouldn't drive. The cost, the time, the potential for accidents just aren't worth it to me.
I get why people drive in rural areas. You pretty much have to. But I don't know why folks don't push for mass transit more in cities. Cars are so expensive and monopolize your entire time getting to/from somewhere. I tried car pooling and really didn't like it since I'm essentially trapped with the same people every day. Mass transit can be crowded but I can still read or listen to audio books if I don't have a seat. But cars are ingrained in so much of the culture here plus I think a lot of people won't admit it but just don't like being around other people.
You do have to deal with traffic, but for many people it's worth the tradeoff.
This might sound really weird, but I actually in ways miss my long commutes when I live and work in the burbs or was working from home full time with a short commute. The commute gave me time to unwind, listen to podcasts, and just not have to deal with people between the time I was at work and was at home.
But I don't know why folks don't push for mass transit more in cities.
In my neck of the woods, the people in the affluent burbs actually push against mass transit because it makes it too easy for “those people” to come up here. Yes my complexion associates me one of “those people”.
Personally I hate driving and take Uber or walk everywhere. But I don't have any commute, or kids or girlfriend or friends to meet up with. Since I don't live in a downtown area, it isn't feasible for me to get a life without the car. Luckily I am happy staying on the internet with an occasional walk to Walmart.
If it DID run and I could take it, I would have to spend 3 additional hours each day in commute time between long round-about routes and waiting/switching bus/train lines. I would pay 5 dollars per day for this service. Almost double the cost to drive given the current 2.60/gal gas prices.
Also, unpopular opinion, public transit is only worthwhile for commuters. Shared uber/lyft is more efficient in pretty much all other situations, except for people wealthy enough to live in easy transit corridors. Subsidizing ride share infrastructure via uber/lyft would benefit a much broader class of people than investments in cute but pointless public transit like our Seattle streetcar.
Back in 2001 or so the plan for the next train line was for a heavily underserviced area here. It was delayed and instead a line was put in in an area with multiple busses servicing it. They finally put the line they originally talked about around 2 or 3 years ago. But it still doesn't cover as much area as the original plans were and rather than putting new trains for this line like the did with the other one, they took some from the line that services the farther away areas.
There are two big rushes of people in both directions. The trains and busses are packed always. The only reason I can think of is because they know most people commuting to work on transit have no choice. Where has people taking one time short trips usually do and they're trying to incentivise them to take transit at the expense of commuters.
It also just so happens those areas tend to have a higher percentage of wealthier people living in the and members of the transit board.
From experiences in other cities, where I looked into the matter:
Buses are too hard to use. Buses often stop on an unexpected side of the street, get rerouted, get cancelled, and have horribly complicated schedules. Routes even vary moment by moment. The crime situation is worse. The weather protection is worse.
I've never known anybody who would use buses. Buses are just noisy things that block traffic, damage pavement (proportional to 4th power of mass), and belch lung-clogging soot. AFAIK, they drive around empty, except that sometimes they serve as homeless shelters.
When I lived in New York I could walk to the ferry and then walk to my designated skyscraper a short distance away. But in southern California or Fort Worth, the only place with significant density is downtown. The houses and malls are spread over large distances. Sure there are sidewalks and it is possible to walk to the closest mall or Walmart, but that may easily take 20 or 30 minutes, that is the only place you can walk to and you generally feel like you are taking your life in your hands crossing traffic.
You can theoretically live in a downtown area but for most places in the US it's too expensive for the average person to buy a home or even for most people to rent. And again there is a massive area around the downtown that you would not be able to go to without a car.
It just comes down to this: there is just so much land that people wanted to use all of it. So it is designed to sprawl out. Then people get used to having single family houses with big yards and the skyscrapers are far away and everyone needs a car.
I also noticed how difficult it was to get from my SO's place in NJ farm country to a nearby big city. From Philadelphia, I have to take an Amtrak up to Newark (or a SEPTA regional line up to Trenton, and then an Amtrak/NJT to Newark), then another train to the closest NJT stop in NJ, and then bike a couple dozen miles. That's at least 4 hours, compared to 1.2 hours by car.
Nearby towns and cities have shuttle services between other cities/towns, but trying to get to Philadelphia with those would require 5 or 6 transfers, basically the entire day, if you can even time it right to do it in one day. Anyone who lives out in the boonies and wants to work a well-paying job in the city is going to need to commute hours by car, which is expensive both in transportation cost and in time.
Having a car is expensive, but anyone trying to improve their station in life will need one to get to a better job. And the time it takes to transport themselves takes them away from things like family/personal time, childcare, continuing education, or additional jobs. So transportation will definitely hold the country's economic development back (in terms of increased access to jobs that pay better), as long as most of the good jobs are located in hard-to-reach metropolises.
If you suggest a plan for people to ditch their car in exchange for better public transit, the response seems to be "but I like my car!". Nobody wants to give up a convenience just to improve the economy.
It's just a lot more confident to use public transport mostly because it's cheap and just great.
I think people will learn to use public transport options once it's affordable, reliable and everywhere.
As counter example Austria where I know a lot more people with cars. Their public transport isn't bad but expensive and unreliable.
Not halfway through yet, but I feel pretty comfortable recommending it if you're into the topic area of this article (urban mobility, how commutes+jobs shape urban areas, etc.).
Is there some large subset of workers I'm not seeing that it would be more economic / convenient to drive into or around the city on a daily basis? (truck drivers / cab drivers / uber drivers don't count I wouldn't think?)
BTW, cars are also a mode of "transit".
Did anyone expect anything different?
1. The coordination and time overhead of sharing their commute with another person is not worth the marginal benefits - HOV lanes are not present in most of the area to make a difference in commute time and gas prices are low enough that splitting a drive isn't worth the savings.
2. Their commute also involves other errands (shopping, going to the gym, dropping off or picking up children from school/daycare) that are inconvenient to do with another person in the car.
In summary, it's convenient to drive alone and you are not penalized sufficiently for doing so.
The United States is the 4th largest country in the world and the third most populous.
Is it any wonder that we have a wide diversity of experiences?
I'm confident in the future we'll look back at how most Americans live today, and cringe at the massive inefficiency.
Exactly one year ago, we tried an experiment and moved to Arlington VA, just outside Washington DC. We live ~5km from my office and i switch it up between walking, metro, and cycling with a big bias towards walking. Door-to-door, 95% of the route is dedicated trail so there is no mental load of avoiding traffic. I churn thru audiobooks, catch-up conversations with friends, and sometimes just plain uninterrupted thinking. This is the best gift given i've given myself for a long, long time. Summertime walks are so pleasurable that I look forward to going to work early in the day and coming back just as the sun subsides.
This is all awesome enough that I'm dreading the next job in SF/SV/NYC just because of commute alone.
If you are curious, this is the typical (non-winter) walk: https://www.instagram.com/p/BhCXV4eDvSZ/?utm_source=ig_web_c...