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The end of car culture?

Old 07-02-13, 06:24 AM
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ironwood
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The end of car culture?

This was in the NYT

https://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/30/su...e.html?hp&_r=o
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Old 07-02-13, 11:12 AM
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Interesting article. It might be premature to announce a long term trend, but there are clear indications that car culture is declining among the young. Apparently heavy cell phone usage is taking time away from driving. That's great, as long as they don't try to do both at once.
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Old 07-02-13, 02:41 PM
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one of today's headlines:
[h=2]U.S. Car Sales Pace Hits Five Year High[/h]https://stream.wsj.com/story/markets/SS-2-5/SS-2-267367/

It appears that a large portion of the sales are work/fleet vehicles.
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Old 07-02-13, 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by ironwood View Post
So was this:
https://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/03/bu...uto-sales.html
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Old 07-02-13, 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by ironwood View Post
We keep seeing more articles like this but with additional studies and stats. I believe what's keeping many more people from leaving the car culture is the lack of public transportation. We have to hope that population migration back to urban/transit centers continues for the next 25 years.
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Old 07-02-13, 10:14 PM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
That article says that sales are starting to get back to 2007-8 levels. But it also says a lot of that is overdue fleet replacement or private car replacement that was deferred during the recession, so it might not be sign of growing long term demand. Also, it doesn't take into account population growth since then, so it doesn't present any clear evidence that contradicts the notion that fewer young people are moving into car ownership than in past times. Only time will tell if that trend is permanent.
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Old 07-02-13, 10:25 PM
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
That article says that sales are starting to get back to 2007-8 levels. But it also says a lot of that is overdue fleet replacement or private car replacement that was deferred during the recession, so it might not be sign of growing long term demand. Also, it doesn't take into account population growth since then, so it doesn't present any clear evidence that contradicts the notion that fewer young people are moving into car ownership than in past times. Only time will tell if that trend is permanent.
But it does indicate, like the story about Jackie Chan, the car culture is far from dead.
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Old 07-02-13, 10:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Mobile 155 View Post
But it does indicate, like the story about Jackie Chan, the car culture is far from dead.
It's just a silly headline. The article doesn't make any such claim.
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Old 07-02-13, 10:43 PM
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
It's just a silly headline. The article doesn't make any such claim.
Still it was the thrust of the thread title. Do you know what the high water mark for the bike culture was in the US? We still haven't reached the Adult sales figures from 1974-75. No one is posting the bike culture is over. I was just pointing out the headlines can and most often are just to make news, not report it.
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Old 07-02-13, 11:14 PM
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
That article says that sales are starting to get back to 2007-8 levels. But it also says a lot of that is overdue fleet replacement or private car replacement that was deferred during the recession, so it might not be sign of growing long term demand. Also, it doesn't take into account population growth since then, so it doesn't present any clear evidence that contradicts the notion that fewer young people are moving into car ownership than in past times. Only time will tell if that trend is permanent.
Good post. I agree that only time will tell, but I think the time will come within a year or two, barring another recession.

I'm going to be looking at the percentage of people with DLs as a better indicator than car sales.

Transit ridership will also be an interesting figure to follow. This has increased steadily since the boom years of the late 1990s.
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Old 07-02-13, 11:55 PM
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Honestly, I couldn't care less if more cars were sold or not; all I really care about re: cars is, WILL THEY DRIVE THEM INTELLIGENTLY? My experience says NOT.
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Old 07-03-13, 12:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Transit ridership will also be an interesting figure to follow. This has increased steadily since the boom years of the late 1990s.
But, given the pathetic state of mass transit in the United States, it seems that massive investments would be in order if a move away from the motor car were truly under way, and, from I've been able to observe, the focus is still on subsidizing the automobile.
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Old 07-03-13, 02:43 AM
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Originally Posted by DX-MAN View Post
Honestly, I couldn't care less if more cars were sold or not; all I really care about re: cars is, WILL THEY DRIVE THEM INTELLIGENTLY? My experience says NOT.
I agree with the intelligently, but the more people move away from cars, the more infrastructure spending can focus on other modes of transport.
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Old 07-03-13, 05:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Mobile 155 View Post
Still it was the thrust of the thread title. Do you know what the high water mark for the bike culture was in the US? We still haven't reached the Adult sales figures from 1974-75. No one is posting the bike culture is over. I was just pointing out the headlines can and most often are just to make news, not report it.
I think the high water mark of the US bike culture was from the 1890s to WWI, or somewhere in that period. I wasn't around then. However, I was around in the seventies. True, there were a lot of bikes sold in 1973, and there was the oil embargo, and then the shortage of gasoline in 1979, but I don't think there was a real bike culture. It was a period of rediscovery of the bicycle. In the fifties and early sixties adult cyclists were rare. One remark directed at me in 1963 was "How old are you?".

I did put a question mark in the title. Whether or not the car culture disappears, it is interesting to see that more young people do not feel they absolutely need a car.
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Old 07-03-13, 07:57 AM
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my son asked for a car and doesn't care what kind it is, but he was very specific about which phone he wanted
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Old 07-03-13, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by ironwood View Post
Whether or not the car culture disappears, it is interesting to see that more young people do not feel they absolutely need a car.
More "end of car culture" news: https://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/the-e...150316490.html

Extract:
"Millennials do say they’re less interested in driving, but young people have never bought many new cars, anyhow. Polk’s data show that buyers between the ages of 18 and 34 accounted for 14.6% of all new car purchases in 2008. Today that has fallen to 11.4%. That’s a significant but unsurprising drop, since young workers have been hurt the most by the weak recovery and grueling job market. Once they get on their feet and start to build families, they may suddenly become more interested in sedans, wagons and even minivans. It’s also possible more young people are driving their parents’ cars, especially if they’ve moved into Mom and Dad’s basement to save money."
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Old 07-03-13, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
More of the same speculation as all the cited article so far. Only time will tell.
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Old 07-03-13, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
More of the same speculation as all the cited article so far. Only time will tell.
Exactly. All of the news articles recently cited on this topic refer to trends that may be transitory, and have often used cloudy crystal balls to fabricate misleading headlines.
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Old 07-03-13, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by RyderTheRider View Post
I agree with the intelligently, but the more people move away from cars, the more infrastructure spending can focus on other modes of transport.
While I acknowledge your point, intelligent use will ease the need for alternate infrastructure. Overall, sure, I'd like to see more spent on transit, but intelligent car use can reduce the cost of maintaining what we already have, as well as expansion.
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Old 07-03-13, 12:49 PM
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I think that one of the main problems with these stories is that they are too general and too broad. The US is way too diverse and much too different from these kind of broad statistics to be meaningful.

For actually meaningful statistics, you have to look at the local level. If the modal share of bike commuters in your city has doubled in the past 5 years, that's going to be significant...at least for your community. If your city has added 100 miles of bike lanes and far more people are bicycling, that's going to be significant, too. Again, for your community.

But trying to divine whether statistics taken from the entire country are meaningful or not is much more difficult - an increase in biking in NY, SF, and Boston might be enough to nudge the car ownership metric down, but it won't really be significant for people who don't live in those communities...people who don't live in those communities may see no change at all.
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Old 07-03-13, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by ironwood View Post
I think the high water mark of the US bike culture was from the 1890s to WWI, or somewhere in that period. I wasn't around then. However, I was around in the seventies. True, there were a lot of bikes sold in 1973, and there was the oil embargo, and then the shortage of gasoline in 1979, but I don't think there was a real bike culture. It was a period of rediscovery of the bicycle. In the fifties and early sixties adult cyclists were rare. One remark directed at me in 1963 was "How old are you?".

I did put a question mark in the title. Whether or not the car culture disappears, it is interesting to see that more young people do not feel they absolutely need a car.
Because they were using absolute numbers in their speculation on the end of the car culture the only numbers you have for bikes is from the NBDA. For adult bikes the high water mark was 1974-75. Even with the increase in population we hadn't reached those numbers as of 2012. I am just pointing out the numbers are coming back a lot faster for the auto industry than they have so far for bicycles, in pure numbers. I just question the assumption that this tick signals the end of the car in the US. Not saying a turn isn't coming, just that unless we see what happens in a healthy economy this doesn't seem to mean much.
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Old 07-03-13, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Exactly. All of the news articles recently cited on this topic refer to trends that may be transitory, and have often used cloudy crystal balls to fabricate misleading headlines.
Headlines are junk. Somebody in editorial adds them to grab attention, and half the time they misrepresent the article, as everybody in this thread understands, starting with the OP'er who put the question mark in the thread title for that very reason. The headline on the second article you posted ('Peak Driving' is looking like a myth) was not much better than the car culture one, since nobody has actually claimed that we've reached peak driving, so the headline was knocking down a straw man.
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Old 07-09-13, 12:15 PM
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I hate to be cynical but while I think the appeal of driving and car-ownership as a lifestyle may be receding culturally, the build up of sprawl in many areas has made the choice to go car-free more daunting. Probably the result of this will be a grumpy culture of young people who grudgingly get pressured into driving. Hopefully there will be progress but many older and more established people (i.e. parents) seem to view car-free living as simply impractical and, even if they're wrong (which I believe they are insofar as their perspectives are simply biased by living through the peak-growth period of sprawl-expansion), their dismissal of the possibility of cultural and economic change makes for an uphill battle.

What's more, it sometimes seems as if the areas where the most progress is being made to set precedents for car-free living attract the strongest opposition as well. It's almost as if there's an active network of people trying to prevent car-free living efforts from succeeding so they can live out their lives in the belief that driving is simply the only way to realistically get around locally.

The main hope, I think, is getting staunch driving-dominance supporters to realize that driving is so much better when traffic is light so it is only in their benefit for growing bike and pedestrian infrastructure to provide an alternative to driving so those who do drive have less traffic to deal with.

Somehow, though, many people seem to have this mindset that if some people give up driving than everyone will have to so better to herd everyone away from alternative choices to protect the automobile's dominance. It sounds insane when put this way but it seriously seems like this mentality is present in many people. Maybe it's just as simple as people getting self-conscious when others are changing but they aren't so they start talking up their aversions to car-free living to surround themselves with people who feel the same.
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Old 07-10-13, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
I hate to be cynical but while I think the appeal of driving and car-ownership as a lifestyle may be receding culturally, the build up of sprawl in many areas has made the choice to go car-free more daunting. Probably the result of this will be a grumpy culture of young people who grudgingly get pressured into driving. [/COLOR]
This may be the case, especially when younger people decide to have families and seek more space. However, seems like a large chunk of this young population has decided not to have children, to live close to city centers and put more stock in their electronic gadgets than in fast mobility thru automobiles.

I agree it isn't growing that fast, but I am personally seeing more and more people use bicycles to get around... at least when the weather is good. On top of that, there's enough of a core of all-weather cyclists nowadays that people can at least imagine doing it all year around.

A while back I was riding a local trail when a passing cyclist said, " Hey... aren't you that guy? Aren't you the guy who rides all winter in West Des Moines? That's so cool." I guess everyone has their 15 minutes of fame.

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Old 07-10-13, 08:12 PM
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Meanwhile, the University keeps building more parking garages, but there are never enough spaces to meet the demand.
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