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Old 01-28-08, 08:41 PM   #1
The Human Car
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Davos Question 2008 - Urban traffic and congestion

Watch this Youtube video, favorite the video and forward the link and change the world. http://youtube.com/watch?v=Jl1STGrhUEo

"What one thing do you think that countries, companies or individuals must do to make the world a better place in 2008?"

We can make the world a better place by doing something about transportation and traffic.
There is an old-established invention we can revitalise for the 21st century city.
First, look at the wider issues:-
• Traffic is a major source of emissions.
• Congestion is a drag on economies
• It causes personal stress and brings environmental degradation.
• The biggest conurbations have the worst congestion
• We have allowed traffic to expand organically with the city in ways which were not planned. Traffic always seems to go where there are roads, spoiling the places we want to go.
Traffic has become this mechanical entity which dehumanises the urban environment, which is strange because it's just people moving around by driving where they like.

The long-term issues of climate-change, congestion, and city planning should start to come above the individual expectation that I can go driving where I like.

When it comes to traffic in our cities, we should be aiming to;-
• improve the energy efficiency and reduce emissions
• reduce congestion,
• free the urban environment from traffic and masses of ugly street features to carry it
• reduce journey times,
• improve people's opportunities to get physical exercise,
• give them more personal mobility,
• enhance public safety in travel
• and bring personal empowerment from an earlier age

There is a way in which this can be achieved. By using an invention which has been recognised as mankind's greatest yet which has become too dangerous for many people to consider because of traffic in the urban environment.
This invention is -- The bicycle. Get traffic off at least some of our streets and make them a properly safe environment for people who would ride bikes. A few cities' 'hot-spots' could soon spread more widely as people enjoy the benefits. Make it worldwide and this will become the mainstream of opinion and bring massive improvement to the urban environment and our experience of it.
http://youtube.com/watch?v=Jl1STGrhUEo

About the Davos question: http://youtube.com/watch?v=BDqs-OZWw9o
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Last edited by The Human Car; 01-28-08 at 10:25 PM.
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Old 01-28-08, 09:30 PM   #2
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Right on. It's worth mentioning, however, that the bicycle is only viable as a mode of transit if the built environment is dense enough to accommodate it. That's the trillion-dollar question: how to retrofit our villages, towns, and cities so that your average person can accomplish their daily tasks without needing a private car. Rebuilding our rail network and changing our zoning laws are a good start, but what really needs to happen is a reallocation of existing road space in order to give pedestrians and cyclists priority over private cars.
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Old 01-28-08, 11:14 PM   #3
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Well articulated and reasoned argument for restructuring our urban environments and making people not automobiles our priority.

Makes perfect sense to me.
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Old 01-30-08, 07:00 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jrather View Post
Right on. It's worth mentioning, however, that the bicycle is only viable as a mode of transit if the built environment is dense enough to accommodate it. That's the trillion-dollar question: how to retrofit our villages, towns, and cities so that your average person can accomplish their daily tasks without needing a private car. Rebuilding our rail network and changing our zoning laws are a good start, but what really needs to happen is a reallocation of existing road space in order to give pedestrians and cyclists priority over private cars.
Not sure I agree - I have two years of being car/free car light in Calgary, Alberta. The climate and built environment would seem not to be conducive to cycling, but I enjoyed myself greatly, lost 30 lbs of fat, and was cardiovascularly quite fit.

If you don't like congestion, don't participate - ride or walk, and let the others choke - it's their choice (though I think it's silly). Just don't let them pretend like they have no other options.
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