Claim: Global shift away from cars saves US$100 trillion, eliminates 1,700 MT of CO2 pollution

From Burness Communications via Eurekalert

Urban transportation systems an emerging priority ahead of UN climate and sustainable development meetings

NEW YORK (17 September, 2014)—More than $100 trillion in cumulative public and private spending, and 1,700 megatons of annual carbon dioxide (CO2)—a 40 percent reduction of urban passenger transport emissions—could be eliminated by 2050 if the world expands public transportation, walking and cycling in cities, according to a new report released by the University of California, Davis, and the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP).

Further, an estimated 1.4 million early deaths could be avoided annually by 2050 if governments require the strongest vehicle pollution controls and ultralow-sulfur fuels, according to a related analysis of these urban vehicle activity pathways by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) included in the report.

“Transportation, driven by rapid growth in car use, has been the fastest growing source of CO2 in the world, said Michael Replogle, ITDP’s managing director for policy and co-author of the report. “An affordable but largely overlooked way to cut that pollution is to give people clean options to use public transportation, walking and cycling, expanding mobility options especially for the poor and curbing air pollution from traffic.”

“The analysis shows that getting away from car-centric development will cut urban CO2 dramatically and also reduce costs, especially in rapidly expanding economies,” said report co-author Lew Fulton, co-director of NextSTEPS Program at the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis. “It is also critical to reduce the energy use and carbon emissions of all vehicles.”

The report, A Global High Shift Scenario, is the first study to examine how major changes in transport investments worldwide would affect urban passenger transport emissions as well as the mobility of different income groups. The authors calculated CO2 emissions in 2050 under two scenarios, a business-as-usual scenario and a “High Shift” scenario where governments significantly increased rail and clean bus transport, especially Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), and helped urban areas provide infrastructure to ensure safe walking, bicycling and other active forms of transportation. The projections also include moving investments away from road construction, parking garages and other ways that encourage car ownership.

Under this High Shift, not only would CO2 emissions plummet, but the net financial impact of this shift would be an enormous savings over the next 35 years, covering construction, operating, vehicle and fuel-related costs.

The report was released at the United Nations Habitat III Preparatory Meeting in New York on September 17th, in advance of the September 23rd United Nations Secretary-General’s Climate Summit, where many nations and corporations will announce voluntary commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including new efforts focused on sustainable transportation.

“This timely study is a significant contribution to the evidence base showing that public transport should play central role in visions for the city of tomorrow” says Alain Flausch, Secretary General of the International Association of Public Transport, and member of UN Secretary General’s Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport.

Better Mobility Leads to Social Mobility

The new report also describes sustainable transportation as a key factor in economic development. Under the High Shift scenario, mass transit access is projected to more than triple for the lowest income groups and more than double for the second lowest groups. Notably, the overall mobility evens out between income groups, providing those more impoverished with better access to employment and services that can improve their family livelihoods.

“Today and out to 2050, lower income groups will have limited access to cars in most countries under almost any scenario; improving access to modern, clean, high-capacity public transport is crucial,” said Fulton.

“Unmanaged growth in motor vehicle use threatens to exacerbate growing income inequality and environmental ills, while more sustainable transport delivers access for all, reducing these ills. This report’s findings should help support wider agreement on climate policy, where costs and equity of the cleanup burden between rich and poor are key issues,” noted Replogle.

Emission Standards Save Lives

Air pollution is a leading cause of early death, responsible for more than 3.2 million early deaths annually. Exposure to vehicle tailpipe emissions is associated with increased risk of early death from cardiopulmonary disease and lung cancer, as well as respiratory infections in children. Car and diesel exhaust also increases the risk of non-fatal health outcomes, including asthma and cardiovascular disease.

The International Council on Clean Transportation evaluated the impacts of urban travel by cars, motorcycles, trucks and buses on the number of early deaths from exposure to soot emitted directly from vehicle tailpipes. “Future growth in vehicle activity could produce a four-fold increase in associated early deaths by 2050, even with a global shift to mass transit,” said ICCT’s Joshua Miller, a contributor to the study. “We could avoid about 1.4 million early deaths annually if national leaders committed to a global policy roadmap that requires the strongest vehicle pollution controls and ultralow-sulfur fuels.” Cleaner buses alone would account for 20 percent of these benefits.

Fuel Economy Standards Save Fuel and Cut CO2 Emissions

While this study has not focused on further actions to boost motor vehicle fuel economy, it takes into account existing policies that, in the International Energy Agency’s Baseline scenario, improve average new car fuel economy by 32 percent in countries that belong to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a group of 34 of the world’s most developed, democratic, market economies, and 23 percent in non-OECD countries.

The High Shift scenario increases this to 36 percent and 27 percent respectively, due to improved in-use driving conditions and a slight shift to smaller vehicles. However, the Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI) calls for much more: a 50 percent reduction in fuel use per kilometer for light-duty vehicles worldwide by 2030. Achieving the GFEI 2030 goal could reduce 700 megatons of CO2 annually beyond the 1,700 reduction possible from a High Shift scenario. Taken together, achieving this fuel economy goal with better public transport, walking and cycling could cut annual urban passenger transport CO2 emissions in 2050 by 55 percent from what they might otherwise be in 2050 and 10 percent below 2010 levels.

Cutting Emissions with Sustainable Transportation Across the World’s Cities

Transportation in urban areas accounted for about 2,300 megatons of CO2 in 2010, almost one quarter of carbon emissions from all parts of the transportation sector. Rapid urbanization—especially in fast developing countries like China and India—will cause these emissions to double by 2050 in the baseline scenario.

Among the countries examined in the study, three stand out:

  • United States: Currently the world leader in urban passenger transportation CO2 emissions, with nearly 670 megatons annually, the US is projected to lower these emissions to 560 megatons by 2050 because of slower population growth, higher fuel efficiencies, and a decline in driving per person that has already started as people move back to cities. But this pace can be sharply accelerated with more sustainable transportation options, dropping to about 280 megatons, under the High Shift scenario.
  • China: CO2 emissions from transportation are expected to mushroom from 190 megatons annually to more than 1,100 megatons, due in large part to the explosive growth of China’s urban areas, the growing wealth of Chinese consumers, and their dependence on automobiles. But this increase can be slashed to 650 megatons under the High Shift scenario, in which cities develop extensive BRT and metro systems. The latest data show China is already sharply increasing investments in public transport.
  • India: CO2 emissions are projected to leap from about 70 megatons today to 540 megatons by 2050, also because of growing wealth and urban populations. But this increase can be moderated to only 350 megatons, under the High Shift scenario, by addressing crucial deficiencies in India’s public transport.
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The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) is a global nonprofit that helps cities design and implement high-quality transit systems to make communities more livable, competitive and sustainable. ITDP works with cities worldwide to bring about transport solutions that cut greenhouse gas emissions, reduce poverty, and improve the quality of urban life. Please visit http://www.itdp.org for more information.

UC Davis is a global community of individuals united to better humanity and our natural world while seeking solutions to some of our most pressing challenges. Located near the California state capital, UC Davis has more than 34,000 students, and the full-time equivalent of 4,100 faculty and other academics and 17,400 staff. The campus has an annual research budget of over $750 million, a comprehensive health system and about two dozen specialized research centers. The university offers interdisciplinary graduate study and 99 undergraduate majors in four colleges and six professional schools.

International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) is a non-profit research organization dedicated to improving the environmental performance and efficiency of transportation to protect public health, the environment, and quality of life. ICCT provides national and local policymakers with technical analysis of regulations, fiscal incentives, and other measures for clean vehicles and fuels. For more information, please visit http://www.theicct.org.

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329 thoughts on “Claim: Global shift away from cars saves US$100 trillion, eliminates 1,700 MT of CO2 pollution

      • Stephen, there’s a world of difference between total govt and no govt.
        Complaining about too much govt is not the logical equivalent to a declaration that there should be no govt.

      • MarkW September 18, 2014 at 6:08 am
        “Stephen, there’s a world of difference between total govt and no govt.
        Complaining about too much govt is not the logical equivalent to a declaration that there should be no govt.”

        Yes, of course, but what does “Hell: A planned community.” sounds like?

      • It sounds like first-hand experience with a home owner’s association. That is Planning Commission tyranny at a much more personal level.

    • The Planners are dangerous people mostly educated in socialist environments … it is a question of mind over matter, I don’t mind and you don’t matter!

  1. If people live longer as a result of reduced pollution, won’t they in turn consume more, thus creating more polution?

  2. With an increasingly old population, how are you going to get them on bicycles and walking miles in the heat, rain and snow? How are you going to elderly to carry their groceries and new purchases of all kinds home? How are we going to be able to compete with societies that take advantage of mechanized travel? How are we going to care for the green plants and trees that need more CO2? Green things die when CO2 is down to 250ppm, and ideal is 2200ppm. Today we are at 400ppm we need to make more CO2 for more greenery to produce more Oxygen and to produce more food. In Canada, they direct the exhaust from their heaters directly into their Greenhouses to double plant growth with more CO2.

    • Build a vertical society where everything needed is contained in the same building. Deliveries in the freight elevator please

      • Are you thinking of Paolo Soleri because he also talked of solutions to how best to shape mega-cities?

      • They tried that in several sixties Britain council estates, where high rise meant only ten or twelve floors not the twenty or more floors that modern high rise housing demands. Unfortunately elevators were often vandalised. Others just broke down. In 1972 and then again in 1974 domestic power cuts resulted in there being no elevators for at least three hours each day. Disabled, elderly (and not just elderly) were stuck in their apartments or, if they had missed the last elevator, in the lobby or in the street.

        Because of Green pressure against the building of nuclear and current EU legislation forcing the closure of coal power stations the United Kingdom has been warned that within the next couple of years there could be serious electricity power cuts during the winter. The possibility of such cuts is bound to get worse as the country becomes more and more dependent on wind and solar. (In most of Britain for two months each winter the sun does shines for less than eight hours a day, even in clear weather.)

      • MarkW
        I don’t know what has happened but it looks like it hasn’t come to much. Paolo Soleri did try to infer that his ideas weren’t dogma. I thought his approach confronted the practical problems of unlimited extension of cities in one dimension. Atlanta in particular have quantified that civic costs start to increase once a city grows beyond a certain limit.

        paullitely
        The problems with the 60s high rise were not caused by these structures. Broken lifts or vandalism can be solved or addressed. Paolo Soleris argument was that a city of individual high rises meant that all physical communication was via one plane (ground level), thus introducing additional barriers, than with low rise. His ideas, although controversial, considered having one building per city and travel would be in 3 dimensions with no need for any vehicle other than elevators or escalators. The surface area of a city building would be significantly less than it’s current equivalent thus reducing the distance to get to open space. He also articulated the problem of unrestrained horizontal development in that all journeys require space and the ability to cross each others journeys. As a consequence the internal combustion engine is not a great solution to getting around if it can never get into 5th gear and up to a sustained 60 mph and ones journey is constantly interrupted by someone else s.. And I do not mean that the internal combustion engine is bad as I think it is a fantastic liberating tool.

      • Frank Lee MeiDere
        September 17, 2014 at 10:01 pm
        “Wouldn’t have to be vertical. Edgar Chambless’s Roadtown was a similar idea, but stretched out horizontally. ”

        Fantastic idea. You could even build several of them in parallel, and others orthogonal to the first ones, and you would arrive at a compact grid. I think I’ll call that GridTown. Gridtown has the advantage of allowing an optimal usage of land and the grid of roads enables fast travel to any destination.


    • how are you going to get them on bicycles and walking miles in the heat, rain and snow? How are you going to elderly to carry their groceries and new purchases of all kinds home?

      In California, they’re about to ban plastic bags. That should help.

      • I’m surprised that this is the first mention of agenda 21 and ICLIE. Search also Rosa Koire for YouTube videos of her great presentations. Oh well I might as well attach the one I think explains the UN agenda best. It is UN international, but being implemented locally through ICLIE:

    • The whole point of Green initiatives is that old people don’t need to travel to buy groceries — that is rampant planet-killing consumerism. Why don’t they grow a vegetable garden on their living room carpet, or go out and gnaw trees?

      Old people are overwhelmingly bigoted and reactionary anyway, so why not just help them to die quickly? /sarc

    • Not just Canada, UK as well, but few know that CO2 is good for plants certainly not our stupid government.

    • Once we are all herded into our 5X5 boxes so they can cram 100 million people into the area of the Bronx, who will need to go anywhere anyway? We will all be too depressed and “irrationally” angry at the unnatural state of it all that our overlords will have to put us out of our misery. – the Utopian world of Agenda 21.

    • Paullitely,
      Excellent points especially the elderly, weather, bicycles, and walking, etc.
      These people in Universities have no idea what the common folks need to survive or live comfortably and especially in the USA, in the suburbs and rural areas where people are working and paying taxes. Next they will take our Air Conditioners away and tell us where ti set our thermostats in the winter
      Do they have any idea as to how snowbound much of the USA was last winter and In Northern NJ where I live, little of the snow and ice melted until late Spring. When I was a kid I tried riding my bike on ice and learned a lesson quickly.
      My proposal is that any significant idea such as this should undergo a 5 year trial mandatory for Government employees, especially the administration, congress, and the EPA employees. If it is successful after the trial period, then we could expand the proposal. Think how this would solve the traffic problem in Washington and how many employees would leave the government because they don’t like riding bikes to work/school.

  3. Cut out the CO2 calculatons from this report and re-evaluate to see if it still makes sense, economically. CO2 is not toxic and poses no threat to human health at concentrations many thousands of times higher than current concentrations. Other emissions, maybe not the same case.

    • I tried this – copying the report and them removing the references to CO2 emissions. It does make sense, especially if you omit the references to BRT (usually means “Bus Rapid Transit”, though some would suggest it should be interpreted to mean “Build Rail Transit”).

      Buses are heavily polluting, diesel exhaust is not good to breathe, and the UK is well behind the cue ball, contravening European air pollution standards frequently. The various nitrogen oxides and the particulates, unburnt and partially burnt soot particles are carcinogenic to some degree. Electrically powered vehicles, preferably on rail as then sections can be linked together, as in the multi-articulated trams in favour in many European cities, operate with minimal pollution in the streets (some small amount of ozone from the electric motors is probably not dangerous in the very low concentrations.

      For Dan Bothell – keep your steering wheel if you with – this is about giving people a choice. Santa Baby, nothing to do with Socialism. Steve Oregon – nothing to do with any anti-car planning cult, just good orban economics.

      Thanks, John Andrews for your suggestion, you are right.

      • How many times do we have to run around this tree? People do not want to be stacked in little cubbies for the convenience of everyone else. If they did, suburbs would be anathema by nature. They aren’t in every single culture. There is yet to exist a culture where living in dense populations is considered good. And since cultures are actually accumulated knowledge from past failures, I go with the culture.

        This list of transit in the US seems pretty authoritative: http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/how-your-citys-public-transit-stacks-up/

        What does it show? The NY/Newark area have as much transit use as the rest of the nation combined. What is NY like? High costs for everything (especially housing) leading to cramped conditions, poverty, stress.

        Are people flocking there? Only the huddled masses yearning to be free. Once they get free, they head to mid-sized cities outside of the large urban complexes. http://www.weather.com/news/commuter-conditions/americas-15-fastest-growing-cities-are-mostly-west-south-20140522

        What this tells me (and I have been trained in urban planning) is that no one willingly signs on to these boon doggles. They must be coerced. I will consider giving up my car when every single liberal politician, celebrity and activist gives up every vehicle in their possession and rides nothing but bicycles and mass transit.

      • Nothing needs be banned, it is simply a matter of charging accordingly…. (See Singapore’s COE and ERP systems). So, the rich, privileged, the wasteful, the status seekers can drive as much as they wish, but in the process they contribute to government coffers, which, hopefully and realistically, will be spent on improving infrastructure. You can hang onto your steering wheel if you wish.

        Idiotic concepts of whacking carbon taxes on power generation should be ditched, (power generation that brings education and production efficiency and civilization) and instead the focus should be on improving goods and people transportation.

      • there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a good public transportation system together with better facilities to encourage walking and cycling where appropriate.

        However very many people need their own vehicles or modern life could not be lived and there is not always a practical alternative.
        tonyb

      • Diesel particulates have a bad press due to US EPA action without any scientific backing. They banned PM2.5 based on geresay. When taken to task they tried to get humans to breath in PM2.5 particles but had to stop because it was against the law that they had imposed.

        We breath in all sorts of particles, pollen, fungal spores, bateria, virus. Most of these are PM2.5 or smaller and have no effects, unless as a bacteria or virus they are infective but many many are not, and diesel particulates are non reactive carbon. They should not be a problem.

        Nitrogen oxides are different and high concentrations are a problem.

      • Dudley, people have a choice, and they choose their own cars.
        Choice implies that you are paying for it yourself. You want mass transit, feel free to pay the whole cost yourself.

      • markx, interesting how you assume that people drive cars because they are status seekers.
        Shows that your personal biases are completely blinding you to reality.
        BTW, those who ride cars are paying our own way. It’s the mass transit bums who are demanding that everyone else pay their way. No mass transit system in the world pays it’s own way, they can’t even cover operating costs, much less capital investment.

      • Mass transit only makes sense if the population is willing to use it. Houston Metro has a budget of $1.3B and fares account for 7% of that. That barely covers the cost of fuel. Most of the remainder is subsidized by sales tax. The problem for Metro is the buses must run regardless of how many, if any, want to ride. I often see empty buses driving on the streets. Metro has about 58.5M riders per year…that means the cost per ride is $22/rider. Is it worth it? I have my doubts.

        http://www.ridemetro.org/FinancialAuditInformation/Pdfs/Budgets/FY2014-Business-Plan_Budgets.pdf

        http://www.ridemetro.org/News/Documents/pdfs/Ridership%20Reports/2014/0714_Ridership_Report_FY14.pdf

      • johnmarshall offered
        September 18, 2014 at 3:54 am

        Diesel particulates have a bad press

        Not when you’re stuck behind one in traffic, especially on a bicycle. Dragon breath couldn’t be worse.

      • MarkW on September 18, 2014 at 6:15 am says: …… “markx, interesting how you assume that people drive cars because they are status seekers….”

        No, you misunderstand me. Now, with the transport systems we have, many need cars, and many people such as myself care little for driving anything for status value. Small and economical to run, or old and cheap to buy usually is the go.

        But, in a world where cars are expensive to buy and expensive to run, and decent public transport is available, the more likely purchasers are the very rich, or the not quite so rich. The very rich, because to them it is a trivial expense. The not so rich, either for status, and sometimes out of convenience. The poor value keeping their hard earned cash over convenience.

        Obviously the improved public transport system should be in place before cars get squezed out, but I am reasonably sure most governments eill manage to get that the wrong way around.

        Disclaimer. I lived for two years in Singapore and not once did I feel the need or desire to own a car. The rest of my life I have lived outside of major population centers and have always owned and felt the need to own a car or motorcycle.

        But now I see relatively poor populations in densely populated areas harnessing themselves to the banks and finance companies (now THERE is the real enemy!) as soon as they can… Enslaving themselves for that illusion if freedom…. And in truth they currently have little choice .

      • Singapore is a city state. The US is a real country, with real distances.

        Price does not live in a vacuum. What allowed man to raise themselves out of subsistence was not making things more expensive, but making them cheaper. Until you understand that basic law of economics, you will always be clueless.

      • Its everything about totalitarian Socialism which is being infiltrated into western society by the United Nations.

        Just look up ICLEI http://www.iclei.org/ which is the UN’s arm that infiltrates local councils and take a good read. The odds are that your local council is a member.

        Take are read around your local school curriculum and you will likely find the infiltration there as well and god knows elsewhere.

        You could also read my blog at http://www.thedemiseofchristchurch.com

        Cheers

        Roger

    • I’m still waiting for AL Gore to come down to my level of pollution.
      Ban, call me when you and Al get onboard with this pollution thing.
      Please, the earth is dying and you guys are holding up saving the whole planet.
      Reduce your pollution to my level then I’ll let you know what we need to do next.
      I’m way ahead of you and Al, I’ve already stopped my world travel to climate conventions.
      Plus I refuse to take my private jet out of the hanger.
      Let’s go…Your move.

    • John, try some basic math before posting such nonsense. “CO2 is not toxic and poses no threat to human health at concentrations many thousands of times higher than current concentrations.”

      Let’s try a simple “many” multiplier of 2.5 * 1000 * 400 = ?ppm
      Yep, that’s pure CO2, which does pose a threat to human health…

      Though you probably meant “many thousands of ppm higher”, which is true of course. 8D

      • Reality is true, no matter how many times you try to claim otherwise.
        CO2 is plant food and necessary to life on earth.
        There is no evidence that CO2 at levels less than around 50,000ppm is harmful to life.

      • Jeff giles says: September 17, 2014 at 9:44 pm
        If you say it enough times it makes it true.

        =====================

        It’s true. I dare you to find one peer reviewed scientific paper that claims CO2 is not plant food and is not necessary to life on Earth. Just one will do..

    • Cost of living in NYC is high because demand to live there is high. Same as in LA where I live. I take public transportation as much as i can. It sure beats fighting traffic and looking for parking. I’d rather walk two miles than drive, and I do so on a regular basis. It has nothing to do with CO2 for me. It’s convenience.

      • There is another side to the cost of NY. It is set on a group of peninsulas and islands, making it difficult to get around without costly bridges/tunnels which are natural choke-points.

        While there are some like you who love urban living, that is not the trend. The demand for NY living is, like every central city in the country, declining due to affluence. The population density of every central city has been continuously declining since the advent of easy transportation away from them (aka the 1950s).

        Given a choice, most people choose to have more than a single wall between them and their neighbors, and usually, the more distance you can put between you and them affordably, the better.

      • Dire Wolf, you logic is dire. I live in NYC and the population density is ever increasing, the rents and real estate more and more astronomical. People are moving here despite the suburban choice. They move here for loads of reasons, convenience behind one of them. Everything I need, culturally, sexually and intellectually is at my fingertips as well as a bar, pizzeria and all night laundry. Other cities are declining for the simple fact that there’s no work as well as a dynamic city. Some people love cities others hate them. Some people love the unpredictability, the convenience, the diversity of cities; others like the quiet, predictable, easy pace of the burbs. Each to his own.

        But one thing I am absolutely sure of, if you want to save resources, nothing makes more sense than moving to a city. In NYC, we consume over 40 percent less energy than our suburban brethren.

        Either way, on a forum about getting facts right, get yours right first before commenting.

      • Dire Wolf September 17, 2014 at 11:01 pm
        “The population density of every central city has been continuously declining since the advent of easy transportation away from them (aka the 1950s).”

        I think its more to do with the reduction in family size. My mother’s family house in London at the turn of the century had 6/7 family members plus another family renting out one room. Increasing wealth and education has helped reduce family size and therefore density.The ‘gravity’ of mega cities has not abated and I’m sure you know as well as me that now more people live in urban than rural. It is true that there is a greater turn over of city populations than before but there are other dynamics than transportation, such as schools and work. London still pulls more people in due to the variety of opportunities which is the same for just about all cities.

      • No doubt,and when I lived in New York I liked the 2 mile walk I was doing everyday to school so much that it became a 4 mile round trip, but later, when it was rainy or snowing It started to become a pain and so I took the subway more often. Then in the Dinkins administration, the streets and sidewalks became so crowded with bike messengers that you could hardly walk without being knocked down by them. The thing with bikes is you can’t hear them coming. That’s when and why I left the city. You see something really does happen to people when they age, those 4 mile walks that used to be fun become harder and harder to do.

        People use public transportation in New York not because they like the busses and subways, but because the alternative makes no sense. It cost over $400 a month just to park a car and, if you drive it you’ll probably not find a parking place anywhere near your destination, and sit in traffic all day while you look for parking. The older people who can afford it can take cabs, if they can find one and don’t mind sitting in traffic. It takes at least 1/2 hour to get anywhere in the city.
        I now live in Sarasota Florida, there was more to do in NYC, but I do more here. Most of the time what I want to do is a 5-15 minute drive sometimes 1/2 and hour drive, rarely longer than that. There were plenty of time in New York I wouldn’t go out because the trip was too long.

    • I don’t think we’re in any danger of running low on CO2. Too much water can also be bad — it’s called a flood.

      • Pete, and your point is? You see, water is healthy to a point , correct? Well we have done thousands of peer reviewed studies on CO2. The benefits are clear and linear for several doublings from pre-industrial times. So no, we are not in danger of drowning from CO2.

  4. More bicycle commuting would not be a bad thing if it involved the new power-assist bikes making it easy to climb hills and going against the wind (not to mention just going faster).

    It would pare down the obesity epidemic by quite a bit too, as the aerobics would build muscle and burn millions of pounds of fat across the nation. The public health savings from that would be huge, something which the study doesn’t really mention.

    Either way, it’s probably one of the cheapest options, bike paths cost much less to build and maintain than light rail lines and are even suitable for small towns.

    • Power-assist bikes? C’mon! The bicycle is one of man’s greatest inventions. Climb hills with your gut and thighs, or get into granny gear. Plan C: get off and walk. You aren’t going to be cutting down on the obesity epidemic with power-assist bikes.

      In addition, it is usually the least-skilled riders on such contraptions, going too fast, and making the paths less safe for everyone.

      Good ideas about the bike paths, because the big problem now is that our cities have been designed around the car, and for the most part, cars and bikes do not mix. Sorry. I’ve been riding a long time, and there are too many reckless and/or distracted drivers on the streets.

      The problem with bike paths is that they become too popular, with all manner of wheeled devices competing for the driveway-wide pavement, including baby carriages, unicycles, skateboards, roller-bladers, runners, walkers and bicyclists, including the powered-jobs, and people with dogs, lots of people with dogs.

    • Exactly. It is a win-win all around. I look forward to the day we have free public transport, although I’ll never see it. I lives the idea of subsidized taxis, actually, although I do not know if it could work.

      For those objecting to diesel buses, we have very nice gas-powered buses and taxis here in Oz, and they are cheaper to run.

      • “…free public transport…”
        Define ‘free’. If you mean YOU don’t pay but I do, that’s not free.

    • Adam

      I have had an electric bike for 5 years which I charge up using a small solar panel.

      It is excellent in many circumstances but there are many other circumstances where it is not practicable.

      I can see few downsides in encouraging their wider use by providing better facilities such as dedicated cycling routes.

      tonyb

    • Personally I think it would be a literal pain in the butt. I hate bikes because of that.
      Power assist bikes are not new. They have been around the 1970s, and were called mopeds. There used to be some in cities in China and France, and even a few of the bicycle messengers I mentioned in my previous post had them, but they died out when people got cars. People like cars. Email replaced many of the bike messengers.
      A few years ago I was visiting NYC and there was rare huge March snow storm. We wait two hours for Chinese food to be delivered a few blocks, it is very hard to peddle in a foot of snow.

  5. Every gun shot also pollutes the air.
    Take guns away from the people.
    Get a university to research that in USA.
    Good luck.

    • Every breath releases dangerous levels of carbon pollution so how long before CO2 scrubbers become standard facewear?

    • “Every gun shot also pollutes the air.
      Take guns away from the people.
      Get a university to research that in USA.
      Good luck”
      ==============
      Will never happen as that would only save 100 billion, not 100 trillion.
      (sarc)

  6. I would like to know from the experts what the knock-on impact will be on efficiencies of scale for automotive and commercial fuel production, manufacturing suppliers, raw materials suppliers, 3rd-party replacement parts, service depots, and fueling stations for long-haul truckers and those of us who are not near urban centers when this urban utopia kicks in.

      • You think too much in terms of absolutes.

        In some instances IC engines will still be very necessary. (Although you are perhaps correct to fear incompetent government and narrow minded bureaucrats, as it reminds me a bit of DDT bans, and the banning of certain CFCs).

    • All long-haul would be done by rail, connecting the urban centers. Urban centers would also become production centers and vice-versa. Those of us who are not near urban centers would be ordered to report or face criminal charges. Urban centers which become disruptive or no longer carry their weight would have their food and water cut off. Simple solutions to difficult problems.

      • dbstealey says: September 18, 2014 at 11:27 am Dudley says:

        “…when demand increases too much, it is necessary to look to the very expensive cost of a subway. It has been often said that if the planners in Los Angeles had realised what the demand on the Blue Line would have grown to, they would have gone for a subway in the first place.”

        And DBStealey chimed in with:

        “You argue eloquently against the California so-called “bullet train”.

        In fact I did not mention the ‘bullet train’. I don’t think anyone else has done so either. The entire tenor of my post was in regard to Urban Transport.

        I am still amazed at the horrendous number of people who believe that those who wish to improve public transit are trying to force them out of their beloved cars. Where do they get these ideas from? I am not certain that any transit advocate in the USA, or elsewhere, has put forward any ideas of ‘forcing people out of cars’ Rather what they are trying to do is to provide a choice for people who wish to chose their means of transport. To give them an option different from “You will travel by car or you will not travel!” Call them libertarians or call them conservatives, choice is the American way of life, and to say YOU MUST GO BY CAR OR ELSE! is not the right way. Get a life!

      • Actually, the more offensive message from the transit-heroes is “Subsidize our lifestyle choice forever.” No mass transit pays for itself. All of them demand subsidies. Here in DFW the Dart moves nice middle to upper middle class people in near empty train cars subsidized by everyone else. I am all for mass transit that pays for itself. If it doesn’t please don’t ask me to pay for your lifestyle.

      • Dudley,

        Relax, I wasn’t attacking you. I was attacking the ‘bullet train’. That’s on-topic, no? I meant that your arguments were useful regarding the bullet train fiasco.

        *Sheesh*, you sound like a transit consultant I know! Sorry if I stepped on your toes. Didn’t mean to.

    • “…if governments require the strongest vehicle pollution controls and ultralow-sulfur fuels”

      Ultra-low sulfur fuels are made from coal.

      One of the most pernicious forms of environmental pollution is the deluge of unscientific BS that is poured into the media stream by CAGW fanatics, each bent on their own version of half-baked Eden. I am in Auroville, Tamil Naidu, where people with practical feet have walked the walk and turned a cattle-eroded desert wasteland into a thriving, forested, bird infested (they make so much noise in the morning) productive and verdant landscape. Boots on the ground, not boots in the street, if you want to make the world a better place.

  7. The only true way to eliminate cars for 95% of commuting is to reengineer cities so that they are truely vertical. Then the commute to work would be down the elevator. No more driving required.

      • We’re talking about transportation, not construction. No one sensible is suggesting that the bicycle is anything other than what it is: a very economical way to get around that also contributes to good health and attractive physique.

  8. With the US GDP at $16.80 trillion USD (2013) and world GDP at $71.83 trillion, we are talking about 17 months of world GDP to get that $100 trillion figure

  9. “1,700 megatons of annual carbon dioxide (CO2)”

    We need more CO2 not less! CO2 is PLANT FOOD and GREENING THE PLANETt. With two ocean cycles going to their cool phases, the Sun going into a Grand Minimum, and volcanic ash threatening to block out what little energy the Sun has to give, we have immediate and long term cooling for 30 to 130 years.

    CO2 has been much higher for the vast majority of the last 600 million years and it is a lie that higher concentrations are harmful to any life of any kind.

    Higher CO2 makes plants grow faster and use water and nutrients more efficiently. CO2 does none of the bad things they claim. No trace gas of any kind at any concentration in the atmosphere can warm the climate. In reality, CO2 and water vapor serve to cool the planet at night, helping to convert heat energy to IR radiation and sending it upward to space. That is why the evening air cools so rapidly when the Sun goes down.

    No ocean acidification has been detected at all—any such claims are lies—as seawater is a complex buffer system that easily resists such a weak acid as carbonic acid. The coral reefs are thriving, despite the lies about their bleaching, which is only normal when they are switching their symbiotic algae with water temperature changes both up an down. Come back a few months after they bleach and they are colorful again.

    And, natural gas and oil are renewable resources, now that we know that they come from the Earth’s core and are available anywhere that we drill deep enough. Russian scientists have been trying to tell us for years that gas and oil are abiotic and everywhere. This is a fantastic resource and can allow mankind to thrive, develop, live longer, and have the time, wealth, and resources to fix past environmental mistakes and not make new ones. The development of all the world’s countries are the cure to environmental problems. It is in the undeveloped countries that environmental problems thrive. Instead the radical environmentalists and the UN would like to lower our standard of living to that of North Korea, their poster child for “sustainable poverty, suffering and death” at the hands of evil and cruel masters.

    The scam of insisting on decreasing CO2 emissions is simply part of the UN’s global scam to implement their Agenda 21, take over and cripple the world’s economies, and impose a One World Government that would have to be totalitarian and socialist. They want to enslave the world and retire the human race to an agrarian society, scratching a lousy existence by hand from the soil, with no machines, no livestock, and no guns. They want to force the world to be vegetarian when we are clearly 95% carnivore. Forcing us to be vegetarian ensures that mankind will suffer long term malnutrition, decrease 95% in population, and not be able to rebel against the masters. Remember, the UN plans to be the slave masters, with all powers over everyone. We will have a powerful elite lording over the slaves. How could that be good for anybody but those stinking rulers?

  10. I was reading an article in Men’s Health Magazine while I waited in my doctor’s office. The article had to do with the cause of growing obesity worldwide in both humans and, it claimed, various species of animals. The writer speculated that CO2 was the cause. I didn’t get to finish the article as the nurse called my name. I could only shake my head and laugh. Is there nothing that CO2 can’t do? Lol.

  11. The Leftist-Progressives-Fascist ruling class-wannabees are okay with this. Give the masses their mass transportation to their Yobs. And let the ruling elite class and Elon Musk and Tom Steyer billionaires have limos, private jets, and ski chalets in Aspen, Banff, and Zermatt.

    Ultimately mineral resources are finite. Save the petrol for the private jets. Buses and trains can run electric.

  12. They talk ‘gigatons’ because big words sound so impressive. They’d be laughed off stage if they admitted that CO2 represents 0.04% (400ppm) of atmospheric gases and the human contribution to that, from all causes, is 3-4% (12-16ppm). They obsess about a miniscule portion of a miniscule component of the atmosphere, without which all life on earth would cease. And which quite obviously has no effect on temperatures. I really think they need professional help.

    • Michael your point about the contribution is well taken: 15 ppm, let’s say. So to raise it to 1000 would be more than 60 times our present industrial age total. But we are supposed to be at peak oil already!

      OK…ok we are not at peak oil, but 60 times more than we burned so far? Isn’t that the oil and coal of 20 or 30 earths?

      Unless there are a heck of a lot of unsuspected resources lurking down there, we are not going to see 1000 ppm in a thousand years.

  13. Not politically or perhaps environmentally or economically practical, but I can significantly decrease the fuel consumption of my 2010 Hyundai Sante Fe Limited V6 by 10 to 30% depending on wind and road conditions simply by avoiding ethanol blended fuels. That may be just for that vehicle, but I have been testing it off and on for about two years, winter and summer and the results are clear. I can pay 10 to 15 cents a litre more for fuel without ethanol and justify it soley on the lower overall cost of fuel. (with fuel price in Alberta at about 1.16 per litre for regular and 1.27 per litre for premium depending on the station. Here is a photo of a gas pump and ethanol contents:

    This is the fuel consumption on premium fuel with no ethanol: https://www.dropbox.com/s/5azpu7iah7v80e1/IMG_3726.JPG?dl=0
    And this is the fuel consumption on regular fuel with up to 10% ethanol: https://www.dropbox.com/s/xt33r9uqnhwaqyo/IMG_3727.JPG?dl=0

    Now, these photos are an unfair test of only 135 km but I have done it on the same route from Red Deer, Alberta to Grand Forks, BC, several times and generally I get 15 to 20% better economy on premium fuel. Since premium fuel often costs only about 10% more (and sometimes less), for this particular automobile and in the test conditions it has been subject to, it is cost effective and I assume less polluting to avoid ethanol “enhanced” fuels.

    On a recent 2000 km trip I used regular fuel going and premium fuel on the return and I travelled over a 7000 foot pass than I missed on the out trip. Going out was 10.5 litres per 100km, returning was 8.7 litres per hundred km or a 20% fuel saving: https://www.dropbox.com/s/y386ay2e8h43ry2/IMG_3641.JPG?dl=0

    Law of unintended consequence at work again. I also note that one refiner provides much more fuel efficient fuel than some others but that is up to people to figure out as many things enter into your choice of suppliers.

    • That’s probably why here in Australia, the fuel vendors charge up 20c/Litre more for premium grade over regular grade … and premium grade is recommended for most new cars nowadays so it can’t be a volume issue.

    • [Ethanol] fuels with their lower energy density and corrosion problems are an abomination. More so if they are made from corn.

    • You’ve done a nice job confirming what I learned in basic chemistry. Ethanol has about 17% fewer BTU’s(or whatever unit on energy you like) than pure petroleum chemicals. The main reason it is in fuels is the highly effective lobbies of the giant grain companies(ADM, Cargill, etc) who joined up with the greenies to turn food into fuel at great expense and no benefit to the air and at great cost to the economy. The big companies get big subsidies to keep the alcohol cheaper, and this year the EPA had to lower their planned EtOH requirement because it was simply unavailable. The subsidies are tapering off and no one thinks a new ethanol plant will be viable without them.

      There is a useful, antipollutant reason for ethanol. It reduces NOx emissions, which are true smog-producing pollutants. Other chemicals can be used but alcohol has the advantage of being relatively non-toxic(although it ruins vehicles that were not designed to use it).

    • Actually, having an advanced degree in getting by like most blue collar and 2nd/3rd world people must often cures grandiosity. Let them live off the grid for a while.

      Heck, let’s make it a reality program. We can call it “Rainbow Six x 4”. Voice-over “Deep in the heart of an unforgiving jungle, 2 dozen climate scientists will have to live with no power, no power tools, no industrial products, just their genius intelligence and the courage of their convictions.” I’d pay to watch that.

      • That would be precious! How would they travel to their deserted island? Kayaking I hope. Then we could see how smart they really are, just themselves against the elements. Gilligan’s Island with a full cast of Professors.

    • That still wouldn’t stop the lying. Some would get even cagier at it. Better to introduce statistical analysis and logic training in high school for all. Most tricks undertaken by the climate scientists are pretty basic and can be found in “How to Lie with Statistics” by Darrell Huff and ” Use and Abuse of Statistics” by W. J. Reichman. Both books are little gems and with some updating would be ideal study texts.

  14. It really is too bad central planners are congenitally incapable of learning from history.

    Some of us learn, but the planners don’t listen, either. The Plan is all-important, and what you want is less than an inconvenience to the Planners.

    • You are not thinking out of the box. That part of the economy could be replaced with something more useful. For instance, the Egyptians chose to build pyramids.

      We could do that too.

      It may be an uphill push getting people believing in god-kings again, but if they were paid a decent wage, they’d likely fake that bit.

      • That was a bit tongue in cheek from me, but you do bring up another point.

        They very likely were not slaves, although that may depend upon your definition of slavery. Most people go into construction work because they need the money, as I did when I was young. While perhaps some saw themselves as “wage slaves” I really enjoyed the hard physical work, and it seemed to me, so did most people on the sites.

        http://news.discovery.com/history/ancient-egypt/pyramids-tombs-giza-egypt.htm

        Hawass said the builders came from poor Egyptian families from the north and the south, and were respected for their work — so much so that those who died during construction were bestowed the honor of being buried in the tombs near the sacred pyramids of their pharaohs.

        Their proximity to the pyramids and the manner of burial in preparation for the afterlife backs this theory, Hawass said.

        “No way would they have been buried so honorably if they were slaves,” he said.

        The tombs contained no gold or valuables, which safeguarded them from tomb-raiders throughout antiquity. The skeletons were found buried in a fetal position — the head pointing to the West and the feet to the East according to ancient Egyptian beliefs, surrounded by the jars once filled with supplies for afterlife.

        The men who built the last remaining wonder of the ancient world ate meat regularly and worked in three months shifts, said Hawass. It took 10,000 workers more than 30 years to build a single pyramid, Hawass said — a tenth of the work force of 100,000 that Herodotus wrote of after visiting Egypt around 450 B.C.

        Hawass said evidence from the site indicates that the approximately 10,000 laborers working on the pyramids ate 21 cattle and 23 sheep sent to them daily from farms.

        Though they were not slaves, the pyramid builders led a life of hard labor, said Adel Okasha, supervisor of the excavation. Their skeletons have signs of arthritis, and their lower vertebrae point to a life passed in difficulty, he said.

  15. I’d just like to see the emerging Chinese and Indian middle classes give up their new-found status symbols !

    As usual, the west seems hell-bent on self-destruction and implosion whilst the remainder of the world carry on regardless. Rethink Kyoto anyone?

    Andi

  16. This is most definitely NOT about “giving people a choice”.

    Where I live, Calgary, has always been a boom-bust city. Currently we’re riding an extended boom, with a population surge to 1.2 million. Our roads were designed for a city half that size. Commuting is a disaster, my previous morning commute was a grueling hour of idling 6 minutes away. All of this because our last few mayors are completely on-board with the ridiculous UN mandates to reduce personal transportation.

    Insufficient roads, coupled with over 100 clearly identified AND clearly INTENTIONAL choke points to slow traffic down. That’s the future of mandated public transportation.

    Oh, and the public transportation? None. Our LRT (train) has no line coming to my 1/3rd of the city. The cost of building it is ridiculous, and only climbing. It’s already 30 years old and in desperate need of major repairs and renovation, and it’s a major focus of crime.

    The goal of the push toward public transportation is NOT to make it possible for people to pursue the lifestyle we have now. Not everyone lives the way downtown dwellers live, and most of us don’t want to. But one by one the major cities are closing to vehicle traffic, either by eliminating parking or outright banning. This is not a positive thing. I despise having to go downtown for anything, and everything government is down there, like the courts (I was in court over 20 times the last 3 years, and every trip there is a nightmare of parking, traffic, hassles, and even the times I took the train were just as bad.)

    • I think one of the problems of recent decades is the centralisation of many previously available local facilities such as bakers, greengrocers, newsagents etc etc into huge shopping malls only accessible by car. it means that walking or cycling to pick up your everyday stuff becomes very difficult for many people and so they need a vehicle.

      There are of course many shops that exist better in a mall with easy larking such as those selling carpets and white goods and other heavy objects where you need ready access.

      We are fortunate that our village still has all the necessities of everyday life which we can walk to.
      tonyb

      • It depends on the city and where in the city you live. I live within walking distance of 3 malls—4 if I’m in the mood for a 30-minute walk one way. When I shop for groceries, I usually bring a stroller bag, which is handy for dragging home 10+ kg of stuff. That said, however, using a car is quite convenient when transporting bulky/heavy items, traveling long distances, traveling in inclement weather, and transporting elderly people.

  17. Nope, I disagree with all comments so far, I reckon they are onto something here!

    Goverment SHOULD invest heavily in long-lasting transportation infrastructure.

    Cars, trucks, gigantic freeway structures, massive amounts of real estate devoted to parking… etc, are hugely inefficient and wasteful ways to move people and things.

    The future should bring heavy rail, HSR, rapid light rail, automated driverless taxis, and within the cities moving walkways, electric bikes, scooters, (and electric wheelchairs etc for the infirm and old!). And a few more bicycles and space to use them would do a lot of us some good.

    It is damn silly us all sitting there alone in our several tonnes of steel and alloy and plastic and rubber, in a traffic jam on a few million tonnes of concrete freeway, listening to the radio and burning petrol and not going anywhere. I am not so worried about CO2, but it is a ridiculous waste of energy and resources, and a lousy economic system to boot.

    Those who have not traveled would not believe the speed of growth of car and motorcycle growth in the developing countries …. and the resulting traffic jams on the lagging road system.

    Rural areas? Still will need cars and trucks into the foreseeable future. But that can be solved by a certification/licensing entitlement system, and road access charges. If you want to drive into the city, you get to pay for the privilege. No bans needed, just charges and structures.

    Don’t worry, under the right system those who like cars will still be able to collect them, but they will have to decide if that is the best way they want to spend their money!

    • Don’t underestimate the technology. If you could just stand on the footpath, press an Uber type app button on your smartphone, and a self driving taxi swerved over to pick you up and take you to the nearest train stop, owning, fueling and parking a car would start to look a lot less attractive. If the train stations were within walking distance, you’d happily do it if it was cheaper more convenient and quicker than dealing with a car trip. (Experience: Singapore, where car taxes double the price of a car, plus the COE (cert) to own one doubles that again, then automatic road pricing kicks in …. the MRT, Bus and taxi services are great and become much more attractive).

      An aside: Note after decades of trying to promote ride sharing with special lanes etc, note how governments respond to Uber? By banning it in support of the taxi owners.

      Try Beijing, Shanghai and Bangkok, where you can only use your car on odd or even numbered dates depending on whether the last digit of the number plate is odd or even … it is not quite so convenient any more then.

      • markx, I will believe the technology future you envision when I get the flying car they promised me when I was a kid.

        The attack on Uber shows that this is not about getting people to share rides, but about control.

        Speaking of ride-share, I have yet to see any research that HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lanes cause any significant increase in ride sharing. I have, on the other hand, seen studies that show that HOV lanes make the rest of traffic worse (along with metering and other innovations).

      • Unless there is a major revolution in physics, flying cars ain’t ever going to happen, and never would. Expending energy to fly in a low density medium such as our atmosphere was never going to out-compete something as simple as a wheel with bearings.

        I agree with your opinions on Uber and the failure of ride sharing. (Although they found ride sharing worked marvelously in Jakarta; enterprising young kids would wait on the side off the road and fill up a passenger seat for about 10 cents, so the cars always had sufficient people on board!)

    • It is very nice of you to decide what is best for the rest of us. Next we can systematize the rest of the economy. For example, once I sat and the crest of Snoqualmie Pass, in WA and watched the interstate traffic. I saw two trucks headed opposite directions carrying what seemed to be essentially the same load of lumber. I’m sure a good Soviet 5 year plan could have eliminated it. Unfortunately liberty and capitalism are the worst possible systems, excepting all the others.

      • Hi Dire,
        No, it is an opinion. I am not deciding anything for you. You can do it however you want.

        Interesting that you think (I assume) that the best implementation of liberty and capitalism necessitates elimination of all forms of government, planning and central control.

      • markx, there is nothing so bad that government planners can’t make it worse. I am a libertarian who sees the value of limited government. Government needs to set boundaries for society so that when I seek my good I do not harm you and vice versa. Government needs to plan in such a way as to allow the greater wisdom and achievement of people voluntarily acting together to create a better world, one not pre-determined by a small group of elite. As Hayek noted, no small group of people can plan as well as the whole mass working independently.

      • Hi Tom,

        I have great faith in capitalism, but none in the manipulators who are making sure every single thing favors big business so some can live like kings. (Yeah, carbon trading and taxes fits that bill too0.

        It is (in my humble opinion) one of the great faults of the great US of A that everything is immediately visualized through the simple prism of left/right politics, and that there is a huge indoctrinated underpayed underclass who are, strangely enough, rabidly right wing and actually believe they are getting a great deal because they have read about a guy who actually made it from the bottom and dragged himself up by his bootlaces to be a success. The basic binary belief system now contaminates and muddies most western countries.

        I suspect this all stems from the anti-communist movements of the 50s and those feelings linger. But undoubtedly most of the more recent indoctrination comes from our current crop of uber-capitalists and multinationals and the politicians extracting political donations. That lot are very rapidly ending up buying up the world, and after a few more mergers, we will likely all end up working for the one company.

        It is NOT a simple left/right divide. The wonderful (and I mean that genuinely) capitalist system we have seen to date depends on a myriad of rules, regulations and government controls. From the basics of private property ownership, legal systems, banking laws, currency regulations, banking systems, financial controls,labor regulations and laws; we can see that everything only operates because of this.

        Something as simple as controlling, regulating car usage can easily be controlled from within a nicely capitalist system.

        It is a funny and revealing thing that cars are marketed in the booming car market of China, not with advertisements of how convenient owning a car is, or how much efficiency it will add to one’s day.

        Nope, all the advertising is about “freedom!” and “success!” and “Now you have made it!”.
        All quite a con job, really.

      • “Telling us where and how to live…”

        Tom, they don’t and won’t need to tell us that. That is already dictated to us by the economics. If my desire was to live in the middle of New York, or Singapore, but also to live in a two story house with a large garden and swimming pool, I’d find I could not, because it was too expensive. So I would choose to live somewhere else, or to live in a smaller apartment in the city site of my choice.

        Likewise, I currently may wish to drive a Mercedes, but if I also want a 4 door car with a powerful engine, I’d better buy something cheaper.

        And if the system was set up so that driving a car into a densely packed city was expensive, I may happily choose to take the MRT.

      • markx, interesting how you just assume that the only reason why the world isn’t shaping up the way you believe it should is because powerful interests are conspiring against you.
        The tag Marxist fits you just fine, even if you don’t want to admit it yet.

      • Funny how you see that, I never knew that a belief in small government, private enterprise and free speech is marxist. Isn’t that what conservative Tea Party folk believe in? I prefer CHOICE in spending my hard-earned money, if I prefer to ‘waste resources’, that’s my business.

      • Mark W

        Powerful interests don’t need to conspire agaist me. In fact, they barely need to conspire at all, as the connections and the current system makes itveasy for them.

        You don’t see it now, but your libiterian world will lead to fewer larger multinational companies running more, and setting pricing as they wish. More mergers and acquisitions and fewer inordinately rich running everything.

        You will be dictated to by a very small elite. But you will have absolutely no electoral say over them, as they will be part of shadowy, self selecting and self sustaining boards.

    • Exactly!

      I’ll have my car, by choice, because I live in the sticks. All the farmers round our way will too. We’ll pay more because we’ll lose economy of scale, but the majority in towns will save because of economies of scale. I’m OK with that.

    • Notice how that statist declares that the govt should just over ride the wishes of the polloi. Heck with what you want, mass transit is, in his opinion, better for you, so govt should force it on you.
      Another constant, the statist feel that personal freedom and having the ability to control your own life has no value.

    • Those who have not traveled would not believe the speed of growth of car and motorcycle growth in the developing countries …. and the resulting traffic jams on the lagging road system.

      Don’t tell me about it…make those developing countries get with the program.
      More buses, HSR, LR, subways and lots and lots more bicycles.
      These 3rd world people are such a pain.

  18. Can you find the hidden message?

    Further, an estimated 1.4 million early deaths could be avoided annually by 2050…

    Air pollution is a leading cause of early death, responsible for more than 3.2 million early deaths annually.

    The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) is a global nonprofit that helps cities design and implement high-quality transit systems to make communities more livable, competitive and sustainable. ITDP works with cities worldwide to bring about transport solutions that cut greenhouse gas emissions, reduce poverty, and improve the quality of urban life.

    UC Davis is a global community of individuals united to better humanity and our natural world while seeking solutions to some of our most pressing challenges.

    International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) is a non-profit research organization dedicated to improving the environmental performance and efficiency of transportation to protect public health, the environment, and quality of life.

    Do you know what words are not in the press release? Fitness and Exercise.

    You all know what is one of the most pressing challenges, that must be tackled to increase quality of (urban) life and reduce poverty? Too many old people. Social Security and Medicare shall bankrupt the US if they don’t figure out how to get rid of so much non-productive dead weight sucking up tax revenue that needs to be urgently spent on social programs elsewhere. Many other developed countries have the same problem.

    Have they mentioned how switching to walking and cycling will provide exercise, leading to higher levels of fitness and increased life expectancy? No, because that is not a desired result. They got to get rid of excess oldies to make things better for the rest.

    Will they complain about air pollution that might be making the younger serfs less productive and thus generating less taxable revenues, by the productivity and revenues of their employers or perhaps themselves? Yes, because it is convenient.

    They are demanding “ultralow-sulfur fuels” which is almost specifically diesel. Many places already demand low sulfur diesel, dyed green for easy identification. #2 home heating fuel and diesel differ on additives, heating fuel dyed red.

    How much longer until they attack that other source of atmospheric sulfur, #2 home heating fuel? Which is wastefully burned with antiquated technology lacking the efficient emissions controls found on vehicles. Think of the many millions of projected lives that will be saved by demanding more-expensive “ultralow-sulfur fuels” with much-more-expensive emissions-controlled furnaces.

    You know what other fuel is used for home heating that contains sulfur? Coal. Since that is inherent to the fuel, you’ll either need tested and certified “ultralow-sulfur” coal, and keep the documents proving such from every load, or perhaps they can sell home-sized emissions scrubbers, to be maintained by outside certified technicians.

    Old people freezing because they can’t afford fuel, mandated new furnaces, or even the mandated visits from the certified heating systems inspectors who verify the emissions are within compliance? Reduced societal burden, therefore a desirable outcome.

    With the moves to reduce power plant emissions thus driving up the cost of electricity for heating and cooling, like with the UK National Health Service where life improving and saving operations are granted based on equations using estimated remaining productive years (coming to Medicare officially soon), and several other nudges like allowing the flooding of the country with illegal immigrants who spread contagious diseases among the poor and elderly, it’s all shaping up to be quite an effective start for their society-improving progressive pogrom.

    • This is why I agree with the premise of the article: If there is, or is going to be a problem of pollution, of too rapid consumption of resources, of lack of space, then don’t crack down on power stations and home heating and make those basic necessities of life more expensive … crack down on the most inefficient system around: grid locked cars and gigantic concrete freeways.

      In a few thousand years they will gaze upon the relics of our work in bafflement and say, “Did they really erect all that concrete to move individual people in large motorized vehicles?”

      • We do not have a space problem, (the world can well support a few billion more) we do not have a resources problem… http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/05/08/there-is-no-shortage-of-stuff/ we do not have an energy problem. CO2 is not a pollution problem. Indeed, it is an immense water resource and land saver.

        If you, and other people like you wish to invest in a transportation system that is better in some areas, please do so. If highways are regularly grid locked, you may be a success as customer come in droves.

      • “In a few thousand years they will gaze upon the relics of our work in bafflement and say, “Did they really erect all that concrete to move individual people in large motorized vehicles?”

        I doubt it.
        They’ll say, “Damn, those guys were lucky. I wish I had my own car, my own house, my own life.”

      • You may well be correct about that David, and I truly think the urgency of all those situations is hugely overstated. But cities based around a car centric system are surely horrifically wasteful and often unpleasant structres (especially in relativel unplanned developing nations) .

        I believe there has to be a better way.

      • “In a few thousand years they will gaze upon the relics of our work in bafflement and say, “Did they really erect all that concrete to move individual people in large motorized vehicles?””

        Then their central planning manager will beat them for talking and “encourage” them to continue working.

  19. OK, the million-Hyundai theory …

    Here in southern Australia, the state of Victoria spends a round billion dollars a year on public transport: Bus, Train, Tram.
    With depots, offices and railway right-of-way they sit on literally billions of dollars of real estate (Australian real estate is expensive stuff, not like that cheap state-side stuff).

    Less than 10% of commutes are made by public transport. Also, the local real estate values are directly proportional to the level of public transport. Translation: wealthy people in wealthy suburbs get all the public transport. Poor people in poor suburbs get none.

    The million-Hyundai theory is:

    (a) immediately scrap all public transport. Use that billion dollars a year towards the following.

    (b) auction off all the real estate at fire sale prices – except for a couple of railway lines to convert to freeways.
    Use four billion of the sale proceeds for the following. Any left over can go towards the new freeways.

    (c) Ring Mr. Hyundai and make him an offer: “I will give you 5 billion dollars down payment, and 1 billion a year for ten years. All you have to do is to deliver a million Hyundai’s over the ten years. How you do it is your problem.”

    (d) Anyone who wants to go somewhere, take a free Hyundai. Give it back when you’re done.

    (e) Granny can’t drive? A new condition of receiving welfare benefits is that you offer to drive 5 grannies a week to do their shopping (or to the male stripper show, whatever).

    (f) Traffic will be clogged? Not so much. Remember, less than 10 percent of commuter trips here are via public transport. Besides, we get a couple new freeways out of the railway tracks.

    At the end of the day the whole thing is cost neutral. And Mr Hyundai is very happy.

    OK, in reality the million-Hyundai theory is silly.

    But try a couple of variants:
    “The million-Uber-ride theory”
    “The million-Google-car theory”.

    The bottom line is that we are pissing billions up against the wall on nineteenth century socialist transportation systems, while the 21st century marches on and leaves us all behind.

    • Heh – one thing about dictators, is they can make the trains run on time. Back in the 30s, that actually had a meaning that was universally understood. Today people just don’t get it.

      You’re right – trains and buses ARE 19th century socialist transportation systems. And some of the commentors here don’t understand that I WANT my car, no matter what. I want the choice of make and model. I enjoy having a car that can smoke a set of tires into oblivion at will. I like a car that isn’t just a utilitarian transportation, but is actually fun, loaded with leather, airbags, gadgets, gizmos, GPS, ABS, ESP, etc.

      By the way, like many cities we have the Smart cars hanging around all over town that you can just “borrow”, pay a minimal price, and drive yourself. They’re losing money, rapidly. They’re only useful for a small percentage of people, just like ALL transportation systems.

      • Me too,

        But when I visit a city with a subway system and that subway has stops in walking distance of where I want to go, I will park at one of the outlying stations with large parking facilities and use the subway train. It saves me having to park.

        In Atlanta, I am usually visiting the downtown area, so I park at the station outside the I-285 ring and ride in to go to the attractions in downtown. If I am going anywhere else in Atlanta though, I have to drive because they don’t have very good coverage of the whole city, and I refuse to use the bus systems.

        In DC, when I visit I use the stations on the Metro outside the I-495 ring and do my business in the city. I even try to get hotels that are near enough to those stations to make an easy drive (but far enough out to avoid some of the crime problems – there’s that downside of density)

        So I am not against rail systems where they make sense, but I want my car for those areas where it doesn’t make economic sense to invest trillions of dollars in lightly used infrastructure.

    • Now there’s a socialist’s dream.
      Forget freedom…make ’em do what you say.
      Slaves may need occasional whipping, though.
      Nothing could go wrong relying on a stranger to drive Granny to the bank or your 12 year old daughter to soccer practice.
      Which commie should we put in charge of this plan?

  20. Public transport – a great concept! Unfortunately, it is controlled by the same numbingly incompetent twits that are trying to tell us that the sun doesn’t make the earth warm.

    Somehow I can’t imagine this ever coming to fruition. Plus, it is not like I enjoy my drive to work – I would gladly jump on cheaper, faster, safer, reliable, flexible public transport – could someone point out where this exists? Assuming, of course, that I am allowed to travel to more places than just work, the tax office, and my shoebox appartment?

    • Public transport is not a great concept. It forces people to waste one of the most important thing of their lives: TIME

      • You have probably never been gridlocked for two hours in central Bangkok. Since the overhead rail system opened, most smart peiple prefer tobuse that to get around in peak hour…. Or many other times of the day.

  21. In other news switching from houses to mud huts will save the U.S. 300 bazillion dollars. Loin cloths are expected to save another gazillion.
    Why doesn’t lefty set the example and leave everyone else the hell alone?

  22. well, it seems what cars are left will not be running on alternative fuels!
    ***amusing quote from a UC-Davis fellow:

    17 Sept: Bloomberg: Joe Carroll: Chevron’s Search for Alternative Fuels
    Stumps Best Minds
    Chevron Corp’s attempts to turn plants into alternative fuels for
    profitable, large-scale production have failed.
    The second-largest U.S. oil company by market value spent “significant sums”
    and assigned some of its best scientists to evaluate more than 100 kinds of
    feedstock and 50 techniques for converting them into fuels without success,
    Chevron Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Watson said during an
    address to the Economic Club of Minnesota in Minneapolis today…
    Major crude producers from Chevron to BP Plc have been scaling back
    investment in renewables to focus on higher-profit ventures such as
    deep-water oil wells.
    Chevron’s setbacks echo those of Exxon Mobil Corp., which last year said its
    $600 million foray into algae-based fuel may not succeed for another 25
    years. BP put $3.1 billion of wind assets for sale last year after
    withdrawing from solar in 2011…
    ***Watson, a University of California at Davis-trained agricultural economist,
    also said the U.S. government should reconsider the mandate requiring
    domestic refiners to add corn-based ethanol to gasoline.
    “Is it really good energy or land-use policy to have 40 percent of our corn
    crop effectively mandated for fuel use?” Watson asked …
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-09-16/chevron-s-search-for-alternative-fuels-stumps-best-minds.html

  23. On February 28, 2001 an earthquake damaged Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct. The planned replacement is a tunnel. Note the word planned. It took until January, 2009 to arrive at the decision. The tunnel boring finally got started in early summer of 2013 and stopped in early December when the cutting blades encountered a steel pipe. It has not restarted. I do not see rapid and radical restructuring of urban areas between now and 2050.

    I live 15 miles from the nearest grocery store, gas station, school, and so on. Rural or semi-rural living is common in many places. This is where crops are grown, timber for wood products are obtained, and rock/gravel/sand dug from the ground. Many poor and retired people live in the country because of inexpensive land and housing. Advancing age induces many to move into an urban setting – reluctantly. The house remains to be filled by another family seeking a low cost situation and rural setting. I do not see rapid and radical restructuring of rural areas between now and 2050.

    Give me $5 Million of that $100 Trillion and I could find a place in a city and walk to a grocery store. In a few years I’ll need a powered scooter or similar mode of transportation. Make that $ 6 Million.

  24. “The International Council on Clean Transportation evaluated the impacts of urban travel by cars, motorcycles, trucks and buses on the number of early deaths from exposure to soot emitted directly from vehicle tailpipes.”

    Soot is unburned carbon. If your car emits more soot, the engine is malfunctioning. Fix your engine. If your house roof is leaking, will you move to a cave? Cycling is a good exercise but it cannot replace cars. Bicycle deaths is 2% of all traffic deaths but only 1% of all trips.

    Percent death to percent trip ratio:
    Bicycle = 2/1 = 2
    All other modes of urban travel = 98/99 < 1

    It seems cycling is not very safe mode of transport.

    • I Can’t disagree with your closing comment. For a bicyclist, danger is everywhere.

      A big factor in bicycle safety is choice of route. The savvy (sub)urban rider learns to avoid pinch points, and heavily traveled streets, The danger is not only being run down from behind, but also something/anything impeding progress of the bicycle’s front wheel.

      The more congested an area, the more likely something will pull, bolt, open, jump, slide, or run in front of you. Such obstructions as a small dog, a water bottle, a brick, even a rock can block the front wheel, and throw the rider over the handlebars. And some people just don’t know how to get out of the way. They may see you coming, and yet step directly in your path.

      I’m not suggesting that the bike can replace the car, or that people should give up their cars. But I am suggesting that some driving is frivolous and unnecessary.

      After all, what would all those people on the 210 on Sunday afternoons do if they couldn’t get to wherever it is the 210 takes them on a Sunday afternoon? In California, many people not only have a fairly lengthy commute every day, but they also on weekends hop in their cars and drive to Santa Barbara, Yosemite, Oceano, Venice Beach…lots of things to do and places to go in California, and even if you have no real destination, why, you can just get on the freeway and drive, man, drive.

      Driving is like flying. It was only good when not so many people were doing it.

      Meanwhile, I do my frivolous traveling on my bicycle.

      • It’s really amazing how you can decide that any of the people on the 210 are driving “frivolously”. Should we have a “frivolous” commission deciding which trips are really needed? As the song says, “You do your thing, I’ll do mine.”

      • The rudest, riskiest drivers I have ever seem on the road were people on bicycles. I used to commute in DC. They are absolutely awful, dangerous, rude, etc. I’m not saying *YOU* are any of those things, just based on my personal experience.

  25. I don’t want to live in a city full of stinking, noisy, dangerous cars. I live in the centre of a large densely built European city where cars are effectively kept out (narrow streets, insufficient parking space, high parking rates) and where public transportation is good, and walking and cycling a joy, and relatively safe. It is a great place to live even for the very old and very young, with all the attractions and possibilities that only big cities can offer. Forget about the CO2, this is all about quality of life. I think that making cities attractive for living, rather than just for working, shopping and entertainment, is a great idea. And as an added benefit, it makes them more attractive for visitors as places where you like to BE, even for a couple of hours, rather than as places you have to traverse to get to something you want to need.

    • Trouble is I hate cities, having been brought up in a northern industrial town and living in London for 15 years moving to a large country village was the best thing I ever did. Its large enough to have essentials like schools, pubs and the village shop but small enough to be civilized. The only down side being the almost complete absence of public transport as the local council while preaching green values slashed the budget for rural public transport, after all none of us vote for those socialist numpties anyway.

      Short answer is I am in my 60’s and arthritic, cycling is NOT an option.

      • People in their seventies and later cycle around here. All the time. They are probably arthritic too. Activity helps.

      • Familiarity breeds contempt.

        I’m old too, also arthritic, and riding a bicycle is easier for me than walking. I can’t run, so riding is the only real cardiovascular exercise I get.

        The bicycle provides a very high return of investment in terms of distance traveled and energy expended. On a nice surface, a few rotations of the pedal crank can take me 100 meters, or more, depending on gear, and much of it may be spent just coasting.

        The further benefit for those with arthritis is that bicycling is a low-impact activity, and that amounts to very little wear and tear on the joints, especially hips, knees, ankles and feet.

        I often ride at not much more than a walking pace. Maintaining balance at slow speeds is a valuable exercise. Climbing hills is good concentrated exercise, but a big enough hill can kick anyone’s fanny.

    • Cees, cudos to you. I don’t want to live in a city full of stinking, noisy, dangerous cars, either. I want to live in a smaller city where the cars don’t stink, people are more polite/quiet and don’t drive like idiots. Cars are not the problem. Density is. Cars lined up in a traffic jam — bad. Cars flowing smoothly through city streets — good.

    • Of course not. They’ll be driven by steam, the boilers automatically fired with pellets made from wood, usually recycled, with added paper and field waste. Just as the Green God wanted. A few electric motors and some electromechanical switches, doesn’t even need solid state electronics, the same pellets and carbon-neutral boiler technology can power your car or heat your house. In fact there’ll be dual-purpose boiler units, the same model could power your car or heat your hovel. You can have a Ford in your driveway and another Ford as “backup” for your thermal solar panels.

    • I don’t see any technology that is likely to be taking over from gas anytime in the next hundred years or so.

  26. The reaction to this is really silly. If you look at the death rate from using cars as a means of mass transportation, its really appalling. If someone were to propose it, western society would simply reject it out of hand. Its well over a million a year worldwide killed, and serious injuries must be several times that.

    In addition there are the side issues about pollution. In Europe and the UK diesel powered cars are putting out huge amounts of particulates. Oxford Street is a main pedestrian shopping street, and it has huge pollution levels.

    It is perfectly rational to want to take social action to limit car use. Not because we should be seeking to reduce CO2 emissions to reduce global warming – that is simply idiotic. But because getting cars out of our cities and away from places people live and walk would improve the quality of life.

    If you look at London or Paris, not only has the car damaged the environment and killed people, because its an intrinsically unsafe method of mass transport. It has also made it impossible to cycle safely, so its contributed indirectly to lack of physical activity, which itself is a major health concern.

    So yes to restriction of cars, yes to taking back of living and walking outdoor space, yes to more provision for safe cycling in temperate climates. And do it for the right reasons, human welfare, not because of this absurd warming hysteria.

    The complete irritation of people wanting to do the right thing, but for the most wrong headed reason you could imagine!

    • The reaction to this is really silly. If you look at the death rate from eating potato chips as a means of mass-appeal snacking, its really appalling. If someone were to propose it, western society would simply reject it out of hand. Its well over a million a year worldwide killed, and serious health complications must be several times that.

    • I love it the way statists are so eager to re-design the world. For your benefit of course.
      Of course they also never actually ask you if you want the world to be redesigned.

      • I’m not eager to redesign the world. Nor am I a statist.

        I am simply pointing out the inconvenient truth that we have implemented a system of mass transport that leads to a million or so deaths a year. If we had been asked up front would we allow this, the answer would have been no, there must be a better way. And there is. It is to separate cars and people. To separate high speed traffic from residential and shopping neighborhoods. It can be done, its no great limitation on freedom of movement, any more than other traffic regulations are. What do you think a shopping mall does? Oxford Street in London is one vast shopping mall, with, bizarrely, cars buses trucks and taxis all running through the middle of it at speed emitting clouds of particulates. Why on earth is this right for Oxford St and wrong for the suburban shopping mall? No-one in their right mind would ever design a shopping area in this way.

        You can see this also if you just look at Northern Europe, Holland in particular. It works. It does not stop people driving. But it does stop them, as they do so, destroying the environments and yes the property rights of those who live where they drive through. It separates living and the walked environment from high speed traffic.

        One of the extraordinary things about car mania is that it is usually expressed as a variety of free market liberalism. But the right being claimed is actually an attack on private property. If you are never secure from your side street with high valued properties and amenities being autocratically transformed into a rat run, you have lost property rights.

        Give power to the people whose streets are being driven through and you will soon find that they are very willing to sacrifice their own right to drive at speed through others neighborhoods in order to have their streets safe and pleasant for their children to play in.

        But, of course, do not do this in the name of carbon emission reduction. That is simply mad. Do it if anything in the name of stopping people having to breathe in particulate diesel fumes. That makes perfect sense.

      • If cars are a problem in residential areas there are simple solutions: cul-de-sacs and speed bumps. Take all your residential neighborhoods and cut off streets in the middle of blocks. No more people running helter skelter through your neighborhood. All the high-income neighborhoods in Dallas-Fort Worth use cul-de-sacs and winding (sometimes maze-like) roads to keep the riff-raff out.

        Speed bumps effectively discourage through-traffic.

        Funny, though, how no one in the neighborhoods you say are suffering damage to their property right clamor for these solutions. Maybe they value access more than the supposed deterioration you claim happens.

      • Dire Wolf on September 18, 2014 at 7:36 am days: “If cars are a problem in residential areas there are simple solutions: cul-de-sacs and speed bumps.”

        Dang! That sounds exactly like central planning and government telling people what to do and how to do it!

      • You obviously missed my comment that these solutions aren’t used because people don’t clamor for them and actually prefer access over the so-called harm of cars driving through the neighborhood. If people in the community want it, it ain’t planning.

    • “If someone were to propose it, western society would simply reject it out of hand.” Meanwhile on actual earth, more and more people embrace personal vehicles globally by the day, knowing the dangers. I live in a very rural place, with this central planning mindset growing I have to wonder what the future holds for me. A lack of a vehicle certainly wouldnt improve my families welfare. I would rather be stranded out here in the trees on my mountain then live in even an efficiently run and well planned city let alone the nonsense we see forming thus far from this central plan.

    • Careful, you’re poking a sacred cow. I grew up hearing Dinah Shore’s golden voice ♪ See the U S A, in your Chev ro let ♪, and now they advertise cars showing them spinning out, racing through Gotham, wheels whirling, smoke swirling, you know you’re a real stud when you get behind the wheel of the latest sleek model from your favorite manufacturer, and with all those visions of Madison Ave. racing in your head, you go racing down the road just like the dude in the ad. Cool, ain’t it, how that works?

      So it’s true. It’s deeply ingrained part of American Culture, good ol’ red blooded pedal to the metal, and lead, follow, or get out of the way! You know it’s all good ’cause it’s on the television.

      So why fix lunch when I can jump in my ride and cruise on down to junk food junction and pick up a bag of the savory fare, big ol’ sloshing soda, and a cheeseburger in paradise.

      The flight to the suburbs was accompanied by the development of bigger and bigger malls, and that accelerated the decline and near-death of core cities. I wonder how many of the big malls were paid off, before they went under? Of course, this is the United States of America, so there was no central planning involved when all the sudden everybody starts building malls. And at the end of the fiasco, the question always arises: who got left holding the bag?

      The best plan is to get the cars out of the urban centers. Cities like Denver and Boulder in Colorado that have done this enjoy vibrant pedestrian malls.

  27. Friends:

    The issue is practicality and not politics.

    Public transport is good and useful: I use my OAP Bus Pass where that is useful. But personal transport such as my car is better: it is more convenient in every way.

    My car is available at any time but public transport is intermittent. I prefer to be traveling in comfort in my car instead of waiting in the cold and rain at a bus stop.

    Here in tiny Falmouth, Cornwall, we have three railway stations (four if you include Penryn). But the walk down and back up the hill to the nearest station is not possible for the infirm such as me, especially not with luggage. And even a power-assisted bicycle is not an efficient shopping transporter.

    Carrying children in a car is safer and easier than on a bicycle especially when loaded with shopping..

    If I use my car to the station then I can use it to get were I want to be. And the marginal cost of the car journey is much less than the train fare. It is very much less for a family with children.

    The young and fit are always too arrogant to understand that they, too, may get old. Bicycles and public transport may fit their existing needs, but do not meet the needs of many (most?) others. Private transport such as cars does.

    Richard

    • For me it has nothing to do with practicality. I work hard for my salary. Long hours each day and I often put in time on the weekends to continue that work. I will buy a car if I damn well feel like it. Even a gas guzzler. And those nosy nannies who think I should be more concerned about CO2 can butt out of my life.

      • Yes, Pamela. I is not about whether you can buy a car. It is about where you can drive it and at what speed. And its about what rights those who own the properties you drive by, in the neigborhoods you drive through, what rights they have.

        Buy one by all means. Just don’t drive it through our neighborhood.

      • Sorry Michel but your complaint falls on stout Irish Daughters of the American Revolution ears, The Civil War ears, and the Oregon Trail ears. Independent pioneering folk. So call 1-800 waaaaayyy. Better yet, put on your big boy panties. If the street is public, I helped build the damn thing. I can drive on it if I want to.

    • Richard, I may be wrong but I don’t believe anyone in here is advocating that cars simply get taken away, leaving people stranded in their homes. Obviously you cannot use a public transport system where one does not exist.

      I think the general concept is that cars are often a pretty poor system of transport, and if they can be replaced by something better, they should be. And there will very likely remain situations where they continue to be needed and used.

      I also get the impression that some in here regard the automobile as the ultimate form of transport and as the pinnacle of the expression of freedom, but I could be wrong about that, too.

      • markx

        You begin your post saying to me

        Richard, I may be wrong but I don’t believe anyone in here is advocating that cars simply get taken away, leaving people stranded in their homes. Obviously you cannot use a public transport system where one does not exist.

        Pardon!?
        What on Earth makes you think I suggested “cars simply get taken away” or that one “cannot use a public transport system where one does not exist”.

        I began my post saying

        Friends:

        The issue is practicality and not politics.

        Public transport is good and useful: I use my OAP Bus Pass where that is useful. But personal transport such as my car is better: it is more convenient in every way.

        Public transport will replace the car if the practical reasons I listed for preferring car to public transport are resolved. Until then, it won’t.

        This is demonstrated by London. The tax on cars into London is not the major reason people use the tube in favour of cars: commuters drive to the station where they park their cars and take the train for the part of their journey which is fastest and most convenient by train.

        Richard

      • markx, the problem is that public transportation is such a poor transportation system. Just take shopping. Carrying or dragging groceries of any appreciable amount any distance is difficult. I have been in Paris where people shopped every day for food because it was too difficult to carry any quantity home on foot/bike/metro. Think of all the waste of human talent/time when you have to shop daily.

        The car delivers the best solution for most people. Last I looked, NYC where transit is best in the US only 17% of all trips are taken on public transit. That ought to tell you exactly what you need to know about the usability of transit for most people.

      • Hi Richard,
        Yes, you are correct and I apologise. I think I over-interpreted your remark somehow.

        We seem to be on the same page in that sometimes cars are perfectly appropriate, and sometimes their presence and the structure of their facilities is not.

        Regards,
        Mark.

  28. Wow, everything good happens by getting away from cars! I thought history showed a different story. The US economy was based on rail service and local public transportation like horses, trolleys, and walking. Then along came Ford and the Model T.

    But now everything will be solved by going back to the future.

  29. Um, so why would we actually want to reduce our GDP by $100 trillion.

    Perhaps these people might take Economics 101 before making these announcements.

  30. Look this polarization becomes silly at a certain point and is missing the point.

    Buses are not evil
    Cars are not evil
    Managing our waste and limiting pollution is not evil
    CO2 is not evil
    Public Transporation is not evil
    Bicycles are not evil
    Walking is not evil

    The problem is apples, the garden of Eden and all that.

  31. I couldn’t agree more with this article. America’s highest priority should be increased subsidies for the lawyers and investment bankers who commute on Metro North with me from Connecticut and Westchester into Manhattan.

  32. The greens have long had a fantasy of a total ban on all personal motorised transport, partly has it fits in with their ‘collectivization’ idea and partly as they see such a thing as step to toward return to some mythic ideal rural best , full of rosy cheeked children and happy peasants , while in reality it was a time when life was both grim and short for most people and rosy cheeks with likely to be a sign of life threating illness not health.

    • No, don’t be silly. Its not about banning personal motorised transport. Its about keeping high speed traffic away from people. Its not about going back in time either. Its about regulating traffic so as to have pleasanter and safer neighborhoods.

      it probably will lead to more use of the subway or buses, but that is not the point at all. It will certainly lead to people feeling safer in cycling or walking, and that is very much the point.

      • Given that a car is most efficient when its moving at study speed without change gear nor breaking.
        Speed is not the prime issue , while the type of traffic claiming much beloved by the greens increases both pollution and fuel combustion’ thanks to all the stop/go nature it induces. Having a steady flow at 20 is better than an intermittent flow at 30 , but its actual an intermittent flow , or even no flow , that the greens want has a ‘punishment’ to cars drivers.
        And by high speed we are talking freeways or motorways where people should not be walking or cycling on at all. Urban settings are not ‘high speed’ and its those setting people and cars are most likely to come into conflict. In these setting its poor behaviour which is the biggest factor and to date no ‘green tax’ as addressed that at all . In fact in the UK the focus on speed as meant that drivers may have got slower but their standard has got worse.

        To be fair the green fantasy of no one having personal motorised transport and that would include electric , would cure that.

      • knr, if you spend any time in London or Paris, what you will see is fast through roads flanked by residences or shops. Go look at Camden Town, for instance. The traffic is moving fast by pedestrian standards. Its not doing over 30 miles an hour, but its a continuous stream. You go from M&S on one side of the street to Waterstones on the other, and you cross four lanes of traffic, when the lights are green moving at 30+mph.

        Go look at the Hollway Road. Same thing. Go look at the Champs Elysees,or any of the other big roads that were driven through Paris in the 19C. Drive around the Arc de Triomphe.

        What the car fanatics want is to drive everywhere fast to where they are going, regardless of what is around the roads they drive on or the neighborhoods they drive through. What is needed is to confine the car to places where there are not people.

        Will they like it? Yes, generally speaking people want fewer and slower cars going through their neighborhoods. They want their children to be able to play outside safely or ride bikes around safely. Take a look at any English village that has done surveys on a Parish Plan. You will find speeding traffic at the top of the list of concerns. If you could get hold of the requests for 20mph limits from Highways Departments there would be piles of them.

        The problem is, they will not act until a few people have got killed. They are not interested in what the people who live in a place want. What we have is ordinary peoples property rights being trampled on by the interests of the car lobbies. Property rights, because all too often they have seen their property values damaged by autocratic decisions to route traffic through, or to refuse to limit speeds or take account of safety issues.

        Go ask in any UK real estate agent how much a busy road takes off the value of a house or apartment. That will tell you what is really going on. Freedom to drive. For who? Buy twenty of the things if you like. But accept that there must be limitations on your right to drive where you like and how fast, because other people have rights too.

  33. I personally would get into horse breeding , the amount of manure on the streets will be high and the USA will be a 3th world country in less then 20 years , now the next thing is that the army airforce and navy need to be scrapped as they are major polluters too.

    Thats what Obama learnt in his church for 20 years GOD DAMN AMERICA .

  34. Millions of early deaths could be avoided annually by 2050 if governments would eradicate anopheles mosquitoes OR permit GMO crops OR develop reliable electric power infrastructures OR facilitate rural highway development OR develop desalination technology.
    What the world needs is not the power to redistribute money to where it is wanted (lately its from the middle class to the rich) but the ability to redistribute resources (food, water, power, tools, raw materials) to where they are needed. THAT will drive prosperity, and in turn public health.

    • Good point Tadchem. And redistributing resources is greatly aided by having cheap energy.

      I wonder if the world might be on the wrong track in continually pushing up the price of energy?

      • Yes, markx, you are on the right track. Pushing up energy/commodity prices only harm the poor. The rich can always purchase the latest and greatest energy-saving device. The poor must muddle through with less money in their pockets.

        Here in the US, the cash for clunkers program (which incentivized the destruction of older cars) was a great boon for the car manufacturers selling new, efficient autos. Unfortunately, it drove up the used car market by drastically cutting the supply. Those too poor to buy new cars (whose price did not really change) had to pay 50-100% higher prices for used cars. Energy works much the same.

        One more way that government planners harm the poor.

      • “I wonder if the world might be on the wrong track in continually pushing up the price of energy?”

        Yes, that is the track to follow. Cheep energy is the life blood of every economy, and the way to reduce population growth. Cheep energy, caring for others, and freedom to express that care in personal ways, not statist ways, can solve this worlds problems.

      • Harm the poor and line the pockets of the rich.

        This reminds me of the way the textbook market has recently evolved. A decade or two ago, textbook publishers realized that they were getting creamed by the used textbook market. They’d publish a perfectly lovely textbook that cost them maybe $5 to print and another $3 to ship and sell it to a captive marketplace “required” to buy it once a professor or school adopted it for $150. They’d give the author(s) a buck or two of this and keep the rest, supporting 20 or 30 employees and reaping handsome divisional profits. In the old days, local bookstores would buy up used copies and a few students would end up going there instead of taking the time to find the used stores and maybe finding the right edition of the textbook needed for their class, but most students ended up buying a new textbook.

        Then along came Amazon, the universal used bookstore. Anybody can find a used copy of any textbook that has been in print for any substantial length of time, because no matter where you sell your used book, the buyer puts the used copy up on Amazon in addition to putting it on their local shelves. Why not? The faster you turn the book, the more money you make, and Amazon’s cut is smaller than the overhead on shelf space.

        Run the numbers. Supposed only 20% of the students who buy a new copy of a textbook in year one of its selection as a brand new book end up selling it when the class that requires it is finished. In year two, new textbook sales are down 20%. In year three, add another 16% In year four, you are selling around half the number of copies you did in year one, and by year five and on, between attrition as schools change textbooks and the used market, only 20%/year used sale/resale has choked your exorbitant profits down to a trickle. The art department has to lay people off. Marketing eats you alive — you are working as hard to resell books at zero profit that you’ve already sold as you are to sell new books that make you money. The editors who spent whole weeks proofing the textbook (but who you have to pay for years afterwards whether they are doing any work or not) are going hungry.

        The solution? Textbook publishers now publish a new edition every 3 – 4 years, like clockwork. The new editions aren’t new, of course — that would be work, and expensive. They fix errata (and introduce new errata, of course). Sometimes the author can be persuaded to add or alter a section or two, although (as an author) that is a pain in the ass of monumental proportions once you’ve finished the original write, and you aren’t doing it because you think it necessary but because the publisher tells you it is necessary. But what they really do is scramble the problems at the end of the chapters, deleting a few and adding a few as well.

        Oh. My. God. That’s all it takes to shut down the used book market. I can’t use the fourth edition problems I carefully picked and solved three years ago, because the fifth edition is now out and the fourth is no longer available except in the used book market, which isn’t large enough to cover my class reliably. I have to switch textbooks even though the old one was perfectly adequate, I have to go through and find the new numbers of the problems I assigned before and replace the ones that went away, all of my students have to spend $150/copy — more work and expense for everyone — all so that the textbook publishers can pay the staff of forty people other than the author who briefly worked on the textbook and continue to rake off enormous profits from its monopoly sale, without one single actual advantage to the student or professor attendant on the process.

        The moral of the story (and yeah, there is a moral relevant to the discussion at hand, this isn’t ENTIRELY a disconnected rant off topic:-) — is that an unexpected series of developments, such as the invention of the internet, internet commerce, Amazon as an embodiment of internet commerce, and Amazon’s book reselling marketplace, had the unintended consequence of seriously hurting a previously lucrative business. Well, really dozens of previously lucrative business, but one in the case at hand. That business took immediate action not to improve their business model, not to increase the quality of what they sell, not to decrease the price of what they sell or live with smaller profits, but to preserve the precise model they already had and its high profits, by disimproving all aspects of the model that actually benefited the purchasers. The rapid pace of new editions have more errors, are less coherent (you have to periodically stir up things like order of presentation that were originally set the way they were for reasons by the authors), have to parallel online editions (and hence look a lot like web pages blown up in paper print, imagine that) and if anything, are even more expensive than before for shoddier binding and thinner paper (after all, these copies are designed not to last long in a used book market!).

        But the free market is not done with innovation. At least a couple of companies specialize in reprinting out of copyright textbooks, or textbooks written by authors with minimal “fanciness” compared to the glossy, photo-rich, unreadable textbooks that are easy to market and nearly useless to the student. And then there is the internet and maturing e-book market, allowing anyone to write a book, turn it into an image, and sell it online for essentially zero marginal costs per copy sold. A textbook can be offset printed and sold for $30 and still make more money for an author than they would get per copy sold from the world’s largest publisher, and it can be sold on the internet for nothing but pure profit, split as a commission to e.g. Amazon as the seller and the author. Even if you pay for editing out of pocket, you don’t have to support the editors with royalties. In the long run, authors benefit a lot more selling books cheaply directly to the consumer (especially in electronic form) than they do messing with large publishers who simply take all of the profit and distribute it among dozens of middlemen including (most handsomely) themselves.

        In a decade, we’re going to see the great winnowing of the publishing houses, just as we’ve already seen the great winnowing of the non-online bookstore. Not because the government mandated it, not to protect the consumer, but because consumers will protect themselves by choosing economically sound options, because producers will want to maximize their ROI by eliminating as many 10%-ers as possible from the supply chain, because the Internet is an enabling technology, because tablets and smartphones are univeral textbook readers as well as being essential already and familiar to the owner and (actually) comparatively cheap.

        The really interesting thing to meditate upon (finally, the point) is how this process is going to make mince-meat out of the “plans to save the world” like the one above. Will they subsidize the massive construction of public transportation in marginal or frankly unprofitable markets, only to have even their tiny expected profits or actual losses magnified to the breaking point because somebody, I dunno, invents a storage battery that can run an electric car for 24 hours of highway driving between charges that take only 2 hours, or invents commercially viable thermonuclear fusion and instantly turns wind farms and solar collectors and coal plants, and fission plants, into so much expensive junk? Well, the coal plans and fission plants can probably be retrofit for fusion, but the wind farms? Not so much.

        This is one of the major downsides of planned economies. Planning necessarily assumes that the future will be like the past, that when one estimates costs and benefits, the entire economic landscape underpinning those estimates will not suddenly rearrange. Of course past experience tells us that this is almost never the case. Our plans come with risk. One Henry Ford can come along and ruin your perfectly fabulous business selling horse coaches. The invention of the transistor makes your thriving business making and selling electronic tubes decay to almost nothing, the irreducible market for which only tubes will do. And don’t get me started about the computer. I used to have to type things on paper or write them by hand on paper, and could never have knocked off a few thousand words of essay in less than an hour, words that will actually be read by anywhere from tens to hundreds of humans.

        Personally, I think the way it is going to work is this. The single event that has had a greater impact on CO_2 production in the US is the one nobody planned or expected — they discovery that natural gas is a gangbusters fuel for making electricity, and CH_4 makes two water molecules for every CO_2 molecule when you burn it, with almost zero side production of soot or pollutants other than trace CO that is undesirable and easily mostly eliminated with well-designed (read, “efficient”) burners. The oceans are chock full of methane — locked up in clathrates, trapped in ocean silt. The ground is chock full of methane, although naturally extracting it has a cost and risk associated with it so the very same people who would scream their heads off if their electricity went out for a week knee-jerk oppose mining the stuff that makes their electricity. Most of the other schemes for reducing CO_2 are so dumb that they aren’t worth the paper they are printed on, or are so politically unpopular that the lights will actually have to go out for people to realize what they are doing when they oppose it, e.g. nuclear fission power. Some are only marginally dumb — wind, for example — with at least some places coming down on both sides of the margin. In a few locations, wind generation might not be actively unprofitable, but it is at best marginally profitable and only a tiny change in the economics or technology or politics of power generation would be enough to make it utterly pointless.

        Solar, OTOH, is often marginally profitable, and where it is, it is driving itself. It is rarely a huge win compared to power generated other ways, but it can honestly hold its own even without subsidy in many contexts and markets. It is also a technology that is still maturing, and as economies of scale improve top to bottom, as people make research breakthroughs in solar generation or associated support hardware (especially batteries) solar is capable of either suddenly shifting to no-brainer the most profitable choice for many locations or gradually getting there as manufacturing follows its past schedule of production cost reductions, which project out solar cells themselves at a cost of $0.25/watt (down from the current roughly $1/watt) in ten or fifteen years, possibly accompanied by a jump in relative efficiency and higher quality. At $0.25/watt, a 5000 watt panel set is only $1250. Even if converters and support hardware don’t come down commensurately, even allowing for harvesting only in sunny daylight time, solar would be a no-brainer with amortization times of as little as five or six years. Then there are the other game-changing technologies — LFTR and Fusion being the big two. D2 fusion, in particular, would enable the entire species to construct a steady state civilization capable of lasting millions of years, as there is simply no way to exhaust the available fusion fuel LFTR would enable at least thousands of years to solve the fusion problem and work out cost effective solar and storage and transport problems.

        I think that this is the most likely scenario — that without doing anything deliberate to combat CO_2, we’ll peak in production in the next 20 years anyway, well short of 500 ppm, and at that point we’ll see how accurate the Bern model really is.

        In far less than 100 years (however solar works out), our technology will be almost unrecognizably different and any solutions we carefully “plan” now for 2050 will be a complete joke when 2050 rolls around, if the past is any judge of the future. 100 years ago, there were still horses on the street and airplanes were made out of paper or cloth and wood. They had barely started to construct an electrical grid. But a war had just started that would change everything, but driving the rapid development of dozens of technologies and beginning the end of the rule of people by Kings that in the long run probably even justified the horrible cost in money and lives. By the end of the war, airplanes were everywhere, pilots were everywhere, huge companies existed that turned their manufacturing to consumers once the need for war material dried up. World War II was even more of a shock — it produced rockets, nuclear power, and a military-industrial complex that still, sadly, largely runs the political and economic world but that produces many benefits as it does so. In the last 50 years — my lifetime plus a hair — the entire world has been politically remodelled, the enemies of civilization of today were unheard of then, personal computers were invented, the internet was invented, racism has been systematically reduced, global wealth has skyrocketed, the sky was dirtied with smog and then cleaned again, we went to the moon and then walked away from it, and random acts of incredible violence compete with random acts of incredible kindness on a global stage as ancient world and worldviews crumble in the face of a world where access to global information is nearly universal and so cheap that everybody can afford it.

        We haven’t even begun to see the full impact of the latter. The number of people with access to formal or informal education continues to skyrocket. Got a phone? Wikipedia is there to be read and learned from. In India, or central Africa, or in China, or in South America. In Iraq, in Syria, in Egypt. No wonder the Imams fear the cell phone. They let all of the young people they need to culturally indoctrinate see a whole world of people who are happy, healthy, wealthy and free, who live without fear of religious police. They can see, correctly, that the culture of their past and their most cherished beliefs will not survive the coming winnowing as their young make choices between the old, dark and evil, and the new, between freedom and slavery to an ideal that they do not entirely agree with administered by old men who fear change.

        So I wouldn’t be surprised to be surprised, as the future unfolds, as long as I live to see it. My whole life has been one surprise after another, one improvement after another. Never have so many been so wealthy, so well-educated, or so free, all over the world. We are at this point extending what is perhaps the longest stretch in human history without a major “world spanning” war (where the “world” was smaller in the old days, so European wars and things like the Crusades count). Longest in a couple of hundred years, anyway. Most of the argument is how to divert what fraction of that “unprecedented” wealth into what projects for making the world a still better place to live. Personally, I think that it is the major energy companies themselves who, like the publishing companies, have openly encouraged climate catastrophism, because they reap by far the greatest benefits from combatting it, real or not. If we force “evil” coal-based energy companies to put scrubbers on their stacks, or to find some enormously expensive way of putting CO_2 back into the recently fracked ground, who pays for it? Not the coal miners — not until we don’t need their product at all. Making coal more expensive merely makes them more money for less work and production. Not the power companies. As their costs go up, they just raise prices to match, maintaining their marginal profits! So let’s see, would I rather make 10% marginal profit on a product that sells for $0.10 per KW/hour or $0.20 per KW/hour, in an inelastic market where the increase in cost will have almost no impact on human consumption? Let me see, decisions, decisions…

        Energy companies are laughing all the way to the bank. They make something we cannot live without. They know it. We know it (although some idiots like to pretend otherwise or take measures that if implemented would force them to learn the reality of it, so far opposed by sane people who outnumber the insane 10 to 1). The comfort and benefits of civilization require cheap and plentiful energy, period. Those companies are perfectly happy to change the way they produce power in any way you like and make it as expensive as you like. They know you’ll keep buying electricity because it gets dark at night, hot in the daytime, cold in winter, and your tablets and television need feeding, because you like to keep your food cold and serve it hot, because you need to get to work and have to have light to see that work when you get there, because you like being able to buy clothing, toys, entertainments, necessities that are all produced with energy, ordered and sold with energy, delivered with energy, and sent on their merry way into garbage or recycling with energy. They know that even the most fundamental of needs — clean water, and a functional sewage system, and houses to keep the rain off of your head cost energy.

        You want to make energy more expensive? They are happy to oblige. If you want them to build wind generation plants at twice the cost of any other technology, why not? They’ll just pass the cost on to you, and you’ll have to live with the warts or else pay them even more to cover the shortfall with their shrinking number of coal plants. Is osolar getting cheap enough to “cut out the middleman”? No it isn’t. They have economy of scale and the backing resources for when the sun doesn’t shine, and while they are happy enough for your roof to form part of their grid at your expense to save them some of the trouble of building large scale collector plants, they can always build and maintain those plants at twice the economy of scale that you can. Only the possibility of high density, cheap batteries might keep them up at night. Solar plants on household roofs that can store 100% of their unused production over weeks really would put them at risk, as houses could indeed go off of the grid in much of the world in that case. But then, they’d simply become the companies making and selling the batteries, or (like the publishing houses) they’d insure that the batteries had some flaw or limited shelf life for other reasons.

        Grandiose plans are, therefore, almost generically unwise. If anything, we should seriously question the motives of not the sock-puppets who push climate catastrophism, but the hands inside those puppets, the hands that make those big, profitable plans. Because none of this is about making the world a better place, or a place with less of our lives devoted to paying huge companies for critical services and commodities (for better or worse).

        It never was.

        rgb

  35. Personally, while I think public transportation is iffy economically in many locations — Durham already has extensive bus routes, but they are underutilized and may or may not pay for themselves, and they simply don’t go through or by affluent suburban neighborhoods at all — a very simple place to start is to tie federal highway funds to building roadways with actual, safe, sane, bike lanes in and around towns and cities, and to consider building bikeways — bike only transportation channels — that one can either drive to or ride your bike to with comparatively little time spent on the streets.

    I would cheerfully ride my bike to work (between 2 and 3 miles, but some serious hills in between) and in fact do, when the weather is decent, for a variety of reasons including health and economy and because bike riding is pleasant — except for those hills. However, 1/3 of the ride is on a single lane country road used as a primary car commute channel, 1/3 of the ride is on a four lane city road used as a primary car commute channel that chokes all four lanes at certain times of day for a half mile back, and only 1/3 of it is “safe” — on low traffic roads or on campus where everybody bikes. The country road has a “bike lane” but it is only 1/2 a meter wide in many places, and hence it is a joke. The four lane road ditto, only where it goes under an overpass and in several other places the “lane” disappears and squeezes bikes out into traffic if they aren’t there already. In other words, the roadways, in spite of supposedly accommodating bicycles, really don’t.

    A (comparatively) safe bike lane has to be at least 1 meter wide of clear, unobstructed, gutter-free pavement, plus a clearly marked white line, and I personally would feel a lot better with a full meter and a half or even two meters. The people that paint bike lanes onto roadways, however, seem to think that a half a meter is plenty — enough room for your handlebars to be inside it, maybe, sort of, if you ride on the inside edge of it where the gutter gratings and fallen branches and non-car hazards are. Absolutely no room for bike to pass bike unless they swing out into traffic, which is difficult and unsafe during rush hour.

    Better yet would be a bikeway. A bikeway could easily be constructed from my neighborhood and a half-dozen other nearby neighborhoods into Duke (a primary area employer) and downtown Durham (where many others are employed) — there is a power/sewer right of way that cuts straight through Duke Forest that could easily be partially paved, turned into a greenway on the sides (instant parkland serving thousands of residents) and extended to cut through a golf course right up to where it is safe to cross over into campus and through campus access downtown, turning five miles of riding on congested roads into perhaps a mile at the very end (and there might be a way of sharing a railroad roadbed to cut off even that last mile).

    For people who live further out, a handful of small parking lots for park and bike would let people use their cars to get to a satellite lot and bike in from there. If someone wanted to get very, very fancy, one could even establish an electric shuttle that ran only on unexpectedly rainy/snowy days to let people shuttle themselves and their bikes back to their cars without getting wet or snowed on.

    This has nothing whatsoever to do with “CO_2”. It has to do with money and health and relaxation. Even if a bus went through my neighborhood, it costs me less to drive my EXCURSION (world’s largest car, basically tied with a Hummer) two and from Duke every day than it would cost me to take the bus and it leaves me free to come and go as I please not only home but anywhere I like or need to go. Why give up the freedom and save no money? And no, subsidized buses don’t save money, they just charge me the extra via taxes at a horrible efficiency penalty. The real problem with the top article is that it advocates some form of “mandating” and “subsidizing” the use of the alternative resources even where they aren’t cost effective or wanted for their own sake, under the assumption that cutting back on carbon-based fuel is a good that outweighs all evil.

    In places where public transportation to work is popular, it is usually not for this sort of reason, it is because the alternative to a nice, clean, quiet train/subway ride is to fight traffic in massive rush hours through narrow choke points where all of the cars are spewing carbon MONoxide, soot, and incomplete combustion byproducts out into the stinking air, only to park in a slot in a paid parking lot in two that costs even more than the gasoline you use to get there and still have to walk or bus to work from there. Washington’s park-and-ride metro beats the hell out of driving in on any of the freeways for people who work at a huge number of high-density employers in the city — cheaper and more convenient. I’d love it if we’d do something similar here, but it is difficult. Aside from Duke and the hospital complex, Durham no longer has a whole lot of huge local employers that are spatially tight, although transport downtown would still be useful and might actually encourage the economic redevelopment of the city core. Chapel Hill (next door) has UNC and ITS hospital complex, and then even less concentration. Raleigh (also next door) might do a bit better downtown with NC State and government and a fair number of businesses. The real payoff here is Research Triangle Park in the middle of all three cities — a large collection of companies and corporate research offices that collectively support a huge rush hour every day on overstressed roadways from the bedroom communities and cities surrounding it, which incidentally connect the cities themselves where people often live in one city and work in another (because, for example, their spouse works in the city they live in, or they live in between two cities).

    This is a circumstance where every few years somebody proposes a three-way rail system that links the cities themselves and RTP and the airport. This is a system that people would almost certainly use heavily if it were even close to cost competitive to driving, just to save the time and hassle. I literally dread having to drive on the rush hour roads during rush hour — it is congested, slow, dangerous, an hour’s drive where it is 20 minutes any other time of time with a good chance of a fender bender adding another 30 to 40 minutes on completely at random (and a chance that the fender bender involves YOU). Sadly, whenever the numbers are run, it just doesn’t quite end up making sense. Train right of way is expensive. Train tracks are expensive. Trains are expensive. People to run the trains are expensive. It would take a huge investment for a decade or more to build (just like the Washington Metro, although a lot of this system could just run over ground and would be much cheaper and easier) and in the end, how much could you charge per person, per day, and how many riders could you expect? I don’t think they are at break even on their projections, and nobody wants to sell bonds or bump taxes to pay for a future bloodsucking fiscal drain.

    I hope that the numbers eventually work out. I also hope that they use some sense and ensure that the reasonably levelled train right of way is also a free bikeway! One potential corridor from Chapel Hill runs more or less next to my neighborhood, and would perforce run from right past Duke as the area’s largest single employer (and mine) on its way downtown, across the city, and off towards Raleigh (with interchanges for RTP). That would be awesome. I’d even pay an extra $50 or so in city taxes a year as my share of such a plan. But I suspect that this isn’t anywhere near enough, and I do not want to pay hundreds of extra dollars for tens of years to get there. Local bikeways would be much cheaper and don’t require much in the way of fuel or human FTE to maintain.

    rgb

    • rgb, for many years I rode my mountain bike in Michigan’s UP year-round as as undergraduate, and the worst problem other than bad weather was arriving to anywhere sweaty. Enjoyed the heck out of it though – two wheeled free transportation. But not without challenges- try going up and down mega hills carrying a half dozen bags of groceries on your handle bars, or a giant bag of laundry slung across your back!

      As you so articulately pointed out, the economics of utopian transportation options just won’t work for everyone in this real world, and I would say especially in rural areas. My sense is those whose hands control the puppets are trying their best to con the world into eventually giving up freedom of movement, and also freedom of location. In the long run, I think this ideology if implemented widely and forcably, would lead to people being shunted into city life against their wishes, which I recognize is part of the plan called “Agenda 21”, under the guise of sustainable development and “re-wilding”.

      I define sustainable development as “what the market will bear”, and I think these socialist utopians are trying to rearrange and reconfigure the marketplace to fit A21 goals.
      In the long run under such a system only the “privileged” and “chosen” would be allowed to freely move around and choose where they live outside of approved habitable zones.

      For those who enjoy city life, it might work out OK under such a scenario, albeit with commensurate changes in lifestyle. For one thing, getting anywhere on time with public transportation everyday could be a real challenge, especially if almost all needed to use it.
      Can you imagine what kind of scheduling changes society would have to make to smooth out the hourly demands on public transportation?

      Look at the opportunity cost here too- what happens to all the industries dependent on individuals freely choosing what and where to drive and where to live. The claimed $100 trillion reduction in GDP is nothing to trifle over in a world where everyone needs to earn a living, and governments depend on tax revenue from that GDP. Leave it to arrogant central planner types and this world will become a city-based zoo with a reduced standard of living and quality of life.

      No matter what, the utopians will not stop trying to reinvent the world to fit their desires. We and future generations must remain vigilant in protecting our choices or eventually be reduced to practically inmates in a tightly controlled police state city environment that is intended to be the norm all over the world.

      I’ll believe the utopians care about people when they realize and prevent energy poverty from happening. But as you say, that is not likely as energy companies will gladly pass off onto customers all unnecessary government-forced costs associated with the CO2 “science” baloney, hitting vulnerable fixed income retirees and the otherwise poor the hardest.

  36. If this “study” is like the rest of the environmental “studies”, the benefits are exaggerated by three or four orders of magnitude, and the costs are ignored completely.
    Regardless, forcing people to give up their personal freedom and start using mass transit has been one of the dreams of the controlling class for decades. Long before global warming reared it’s ugly head.

  37. They could have arrived at nearly all the same conclusions without even mentioning CO2. High speed rail for both people and fraight offers many economic advantages. However, most people are more than willing to pay more by owning one or more cars so they can have the freedom to go when, where, and how.

    Paving more and more land area with impervious material has a much greater effect on climate change than atmospheric CO2 . Changes in the water cycle is the big climate change factor. Should we be cutting down trees to add another lane to a highway?

  38. Global shift away from cars saves US$100 trillion

    So, shrinking the world economy by US$100 trillion is a good thing?

    That’s like taking the current state of the economy, what it was in the 1930s, combining them and putting it on steroids…

  39. Back when I lived in Atlanta, they opened a rail station beside one of the more upscale shopping malls. Shop lifting rates immediately tripled.

    • I’d guess it was those dang poor people who could not afford tobtravek now getting to go somewhere.

      We can’t have that happening!

  40. Does no one see what the unintended consequences of this move would make? The automobile industry ties in with so many jobs besides car making. Think of mechanics and parts stores, think of how many jobs will be lost. Not only the obesity crisis gets solved by biking, but by unemployed who can’t get enough to eat. Sure, a switch to scooters and bikes would open up some jobs, but the most powerful unions will finally be crushed. A socialist (or communist) society can’t have unions or trade organizations (have you already forgot about Poland?). I’ve got a little scooter, a 260cc rice burner, so has my wife. We bought them new way back at the first gas crisis. Wonderful things, gas mileage out the yang-yang, and I’ve never got it up above 65 mph although it can go faster. Problem was it’s not American made. We still have our car and truck, the disadvantages of a scooter is hauling stuff, cold weather, or stormy weather. Working only 20 miles away from home and our age ruled out bicycles, and I had to become a scooter mechanic to keep our scooters running. The upside was that other people came to me to work on their scooters when I got good and willingly paid me to fix their little rice burners. Think of the mighty web of industry that the automobile industry spawns. The sales jobs, the office jobs, etc. etc.

  41. The people that promote mass transit do so without an understanding of the economics.

    Mass transit works when you have large, centralized groups of people that must trade places. In this fashion you can ensure the buses/transit is kept full in both directions.

    However, when you have large numbers of distributed people traveling in random directions, mass transit is a horrible solution, because of the number of transfers required. You end up with large number of vehicles traveling near empty, or with large delays as buses wait for enough passengers.

    Running a 40 seat bus with 2 passengers is not nearly was efficient as these same 2 passengers driving their own vehicles. You need 20 passengers on each bus trip before it makes sense.

    There is little difference pollution wise between 1 person in a 4 passenger car, of 10 people in a 40 passenger bus, except that the bus needs a driver, while the car uses the passenger as the driver.

    It is the extra cost of the driver that makes the bus less efficient unless it ridership volumes are high, which is near impossible when trips are random.

    • Ferdberple, you have it mostly right. Where you are wrong is in saying that “people that promote mass transit do so without an understanding of the economics”. Actually they do. It is the people that denigrate mass transit that have no understanding of economics.

      Only a clown promotes mass transit in a city where there are no major demand lines – but only a clown argues against mass transit where there are major demand corridors that would be inefficient to serve using individual transport. If you have a corridor where at the peak time there are ten thousand people wishing to travel in the peak hour, consider them travelling by car. At the best, with a bit of car sharing/van pooling, etc, there will be about 1.25 persons per car. This requires 8000 cars in the peak hour. On a freeway, a single lane of traffic can take at best 2000 cars per hour. Hence to carry this traffic you would require four lanes of traffic. However, unless you are very lucky and have a freeway on this route, you are stuck with arterial traffic, and traffic lights. This means that traffic is interrupted for cross traffic. Not only cross traffic, but also turning traffic – which means that you are very unlikely to get away with less than 8 lanes of traffic. Instead consider running trams (aka ‘streetcars’). These can carry 400 people or more in peak hours. This means 25 trams in the peak, so they are running on average about 2 minutes apart. This is easily done with one set of tracks. On a main road which would carry a tramway like this, you would still have room on lanes alongside he tram tracks for car traffic which is not going the whole way along the line, ie joining here, running a short distance along the main road, and then going off to a different destination.

      Nobody is forced to travel on the tram – they do so because it is convenient. Not so fast as a car, and having to stand is very likely, but the tram is quiet, not jerky, does not sway or swerve, and strangely, judging by the behaviour of people when the tram is lightly loaded, many people are quite happy to stand. Car buffs will, of course, beleve this to be impossible, but it does happen. See Budapest for routes 4 and 6 on the Grand Ring. Trams were built precisely to service this demand, and do it very well. I don’t know about Karlsruhe, but I believe that demand on the main route probably exceeds 10 000 per hour – so much so that I understand that a subway is being dug for that road.

      That of course points out that when demand increases too much, it is necessary to look to the very expensive cost of a subway. It has been often said that if the planners in Los Angeles had realised what the demand on the Blue Line would have grown to, they would have gone for a subway in the first place. But they didn’t so LA has a surface tramway on the Blue Line. However, the demand on that route has sparked construction of other lines, Green, Expo, Gold, Crenshaw and others in planning, – and those wishing to drive their cars can still do so.

      There is no war against cars, and nobody is trying to force people into using public transport. The dice were loaded in the USA against public transit by various acts of Congress – go to public transit enthusiasts in the USA if you wish to find out more. However, cities are now reaslising the benefits of good public transport – specifically ‘light rail’ and ‘streetcars’ – and planning, and even building such systems. That this will likely result in a reduction of CO2 emissions is often talked about as a ‘benefit’ of such systems, but this is because of the CAGW view of the Establishment. Play into their concerns if it helps get good transport (the power station still burns coal to fertilize the earth and provide electricity, but the CAGW mob generally forget that!). Good transport is justified on economic and financial grounds – usually costs less to operate than buses, and for heavy demand routes trams are better than buses, sometimes even a subway is better still.

      Some of you might like to remember that mass transit in Hong Kong and Singapore operates at a profit, and many of the private railway companies in the UK operate at a profit, and return a ‘premium’ to the Government. Mostly, however, the level of fares is set by cities or other authorities at a level hopefully competitive with cars with their free use of roads, paid for not by car users, but by houseowners through rates or land taxes. Thus it is not surprising that most systems in the USA operate at a loss – often a thumping great loss.

      • Dudley says:

        …when demand increases too much, it is necessary to look to the very expensive cost of a subway. It has been often said that if the planners in Los Angeles had realised what the demand on the Blue Line would have grown to, they would have gone for a subway in the first place.

        You argue eloquently against the California so-called “bullet train”.

        That monstrosity will cost $300 – $400 billion in the end, about 3X ‘estimates’. That is what always happens. They lie to the public hoping for a buy-in. The “bullet” train will always require massive public tax subsidies. And the ridership numbers will never be acheived. Never.

        Furthermore, there is already an infrastructure in place: airlines. I can fly from SF to LA in one hour for, usually, $99. No ‘bullet’ train will ever be that efficient. Politics being what it is, every hick town between NorCal and SoCal will have a “Bullet train” stop.

        Current estimates are for a 4.5 hour train ride from LA to SF. A bus can make the trip for about one-thousandth of the ultimate cost of the ‘bullet’ train. But buses do not keep labor unions and Gov. Moonbeam happy; Moonbeam wants a ‘legacy’, no matter how preposterously expensive or unneeded.

        People want their cars. Just ask them. The “do-gooder” mentality of the elected puppets of the eco-crowd are always operating on the “we know what’s best for you” mentality. To hell with them. That mentality is the basis for communism, socialism, and all the -ism’s that are directly contrary to personal freedom.

        Yes, they will always find a ‘rationale’ for limiting freedom. They always do, don’t they?

      • Re RGB on textbooks.

        Surely the computer software industry is an even worse case of “continual upgrade rorting”.
        Again… gigantic and growing corporations are continually toll charging the rest of us for energy, for communications, for finance, for medications …

      • “…. I can fly from SF to LA in one hour for, usually, $99. No ‘bullet’ train will ever be that efficient….”

        HSR travel cannot in any way be compared to the slight unpleasantness of modern economy class air travel.

        The first trips I made were a revelation.

        Wander into the station, checking the schedule as you walk up to the machine in the wall. Stick your credit card in, dab your fingure on the touch screen destination, pay, get ticket. Check yourself through the correct gate, and you may have a twenty minute wait or so for the train, so grab a snack or a drink and wander down to the correct platform.

        Your carriage and seat number is marked in the ticket and carriage numbers are marked on the platform. So you can wait at exactly the right spot for your door. The train arrives, and stops for two or three minutes, plenty of time for all to dismount or mount.

        If you have luggage stack it in the racks at the carriage end, or place your carry on in overhead racks. Hang your coat on the hook near your seat.

        Notice there is ample space to move past a sitting passenger to your seat, and a large fold down tray which will easily hold your laptop, so you can use the in board wifi. You can start work immediately, as there are no safety lectures and no electronic bans.

        You can get up and walk around at any time, smooth travelling and plenty of space and getting in or out of your seat is no disturbance to anyone.

        You only know you are doing 280 km/hr by the speed indicator at the frint of your carriage.

        Make some calls (quietly, so you. don’t disturb others, its all pretty quiet). Have a snack from the passing trolley…

        SF to LA would take about 2.5 hours…

        By the time you checked in for your flight, waited at your gate, boarded, travelled, taxied, disembarked, got through the airport, we’d both expend about the same amount of time.

        One of us would have been more relaxed and productive.

        That trip is about the golden distance for HSR.

        (disclaimer.. HSR travel in China is not quite the same as the above in Korea, Taiwan or Japan, as you are often in fast moving qeues of a thousand or so people…but once you get to the platform it is as above…)

  42. 97% of economists agree that the US will save $100 billion quadrillion by driving less over the next 40 years! How can anyone doubt!

  43. a much better transit model for random trips are a pool of cars/bikes, positioned randomly around the city. you access them with a credit card, drive to your destination, and get out. the fee is charged to your card. the next passenger in your area that needs a vehicle can take the one you just finished with.

    the ultimate solution will be driverless cars, owned by private “cab” companies. you need a ride, you pick up you cell phone and an empty car arrives. you get in and it takes you to your destination. this can be made much more efficient than today’s emphasis on large vehicles and mass transit.

    • You still face the problem of the commons. Since those riding in the cars have no incentive to preserve them, they won’t care if they get in dirty or leave food behind or vandalize. Yea, we could put cameras in each of them and trace people by credit card. If it were that easy then there would be no vandalism/crime on busses and subways.

      Furthermore, what happens to the poor who don’t have credit? How do they get around in your driverless society?

  44. the idea model for mass transit is holiday vacations. 100 people board a plane in San Diego for Cancun, Mexico. next week they need to come back, and 100 more people need to go. in this fashion you can run one flight each week, with 100% load.

    but now imagine that the same 100 people that got on your plane were instead traveling to 50 different cities, all over the world. Now you have a much harder problem keeping the planes full, and need a whole lot more planes.

    planners thing that mass transit follows the first case. In reality it follows the second.

  45. Another thing fries my grits. Where’s my global warming? If it warm all the time I could ditch my car or truck all winter long and ride my scooter. I had to build a greenhouse to grow a coffee plant and the snow we had last winter brought down the power-lines and killed it and my palm trees. I have alternative heating now and may buy an avocado tree if this winter is mild. It’s not fair, if the oceans rise a couple of hundred feet I’ll be just a few miles from the beach.

  46. Take out the CO2 references and this study is the same old deluded utopian rubbish of the academic city planner.
    Just another fool or group there of who are absolutely certain they know best how to contain the nature of man.
    Personally I believe we need a planned city, where all these experts can do their thing and live with the consequences.
    We Canadians should relocate our Federal capitol to the geographic centre of this country.
    A quick glance at a map points to the vicinity of Baker Lake in Nunavut.
    Here on the windswept tundra, these government mooches,I mean urban planners, could start with a clean slate.
    The cost? Insignificant to a nation that will spend Billions on a “Human Rights Museum”.
    The benefits?
    Well we get to move Ottawa Bureaus to an area without road access.
    Canadian Sovereignty over the Arctic would be enhanced.
    One obnoxious shop steward of the airline refuelers union could be a national hero.
    We could claim a truly central government and leave them to freeze.
    The Barren Lands Grizzly and the local Polar Bear populations could benefit from a new food source .
    Only the truly crazy or convicted persons would volunteer for public service.
    And finally Canada can imitate China, we too could have a ghost city, built for political reasons and sitting empty.

  47. Here in the phoniest city in America (Portland) our politicians, planners, regional government, TriMet and light rail mafia have been in collusion to force their chronically failed vision upon our communities while obstructing public votes and enriching themselves and their crony beneficiaries of light rail boondoggles for 25 years. They have mastered the climate war type public deceit like none other.

    This cabal was only too eager to join the climate war. It fit them like a glove.
    There is no limit to what they will make up. Their bureaucrats have been very busy dreaming up ways to impose themselves on every aspect of our lives. They call it smart.
    http://www.oregonmetro.gov/public-projects/climate-smart-communities-scenarios

    Thankfully our primary newspaper came out yesterday with an editorial ripping our foolish governor’s carbon tax.
    http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2014/09/carbon_tax_the_cover_oregon_of.html

  48. More efforts by the far left Progressives to force everyone but the “elites” into tiny cubicles in high rise apartment buildings. They should change their name to Regressive instead of Progressive.

  49. Of course there will be off-sets to that 100 trillion dollars !
    Like lost jobs and profits for car makers and their employees.

  50. I live in Colorado Springs. I give our bus system a “D+” grade. They do not come out to where I live. When I used to live in another part of the springs, my daughter spent 1 and a half hour commute to college on the bus — 2 transfers — thee same amount of time it took me to commute driving my self to Denver (90 miles). I would gladly buy and ride a bike even though I’m 67, but the way the roads are, I would likely end up as a hood ornament.

    And these “knowledgeable” people care nothing about those people living out in the country. Out there — you need a car or truck.

    • They would like to herd everyone living out in the country into cities where they can all walk or take the bus. To them, you don’t need farms, trucks, or country living. If everyone is crowded into cities, they can just walk to the nearest store to get their food. Since stores get their food by magic, they can never run out.

  51. San Francisco – with an 80% contribution from the Federal Transportation Administration – implemented SFPark: a study to see how UCLA Professor Shoup’s ideas could improve parking by making it more expensive – hence theoretically improving availability and reducing congestion and pollution caused by cars circling for parking. This $60M project installed 8000 IPS meters in SF along with sensors and research projects.

    The $6 an hour and higher rates ironically have not improved availability in the highest demand areas – what it has done is encouraged ever more people to get handicapped placards. Half or more of the metered spaces in these areas are now typically occupied by individuals with handicapped placards; there are over 65000 handicapped placards issued in SF every year (vs. 30K or so meters).

    The last irony? There is no actual way to measure how much these high meter rates have helped the parking problem. The FTA just concluded an RFP where they asked outside companies to try and solve this problem – existing methods being unsatisfactory and inconclusive.

  52. The American way of life is based on the automobile. It has been part of the American dream since post WWII. A nice home in a nice neighborhood meant driving to work and for shopping. No problem, as American post-war prosperity made the dream attainable for almost anybody.

    I bet this just galls these people. It’s unfair we have it so good. Sure, build commuter rail or subway. If it doesn’t go where people want to go, well, that’s their problem.

  53. Houston’s Metro, in its obsession with shoving light rail, has wrecked what was one of the nation’s best bus systems and squandered literally billions of dollars on a system that is vulnerable to minor street flooding (in a city famous for minor street flooding), is static and cannot be moved in a city that is famous for redevelopment and mobile populations, and that very few people actually use.
    Now favored land developers have made millions, a few neighborhoods have benefited, but most of Houston pays for something that hurts traffic and few use.

  54. Yes, a push cart nation does save on carbon, rubber, coolant, and batteries. But it is costly in the rolling back of civilization for the majority. Just continue the civil disobedience by driving to work and school on time.

  55. We clearly need to get away from city living, we can save 2300 megatons of annual CO2 if we don’t produce cement any longer and start to live in timber and grass/straw housing.
    Saving 5% of the annual CO2 production for 100 trillion to be invested elsewhere, there won’t be a financial saving as the headline suggests, seems a high price to pay when we can save a lot more of the CO2 production by changing the way we build houses at probably a similar refinancing scenario. And the timber needed is a renewable resource, should be a green dream.

  56. People pay money for not to use public transportation because cars create value for them. Waste on waiting is particularly high. Every person can save hours of door-to-door travel time every week.

    Self-driving cars will make mass transportation obsolete.

  57. Our city manager is a bicycle proponent. He wants to spend our tax money building bike trails everywhere. Now bicycles are great recreation and great exercise, but are not practical transporation for anybody over the age of 12.

    Why is our transportation tax money being wasted on this things? Because these people are smarter than we are. They know how we should live. That’s why they are in government and public planning.

    Related: Why do federal tax dollars go to build bike trails and walking trails? Should those funds be left to the state and local government, except for national parks and other federal lands?

    • I can’t even consider riding a bike to work. The logistics just do not work out when the temperatures are consistently in the 90s for 5 months of the year. I would have to bring all my close to work, find a gym with a shower and change there at work. I work with people all day (about 10000 of them) in a close one on one environment (well, not all 10000 every day) and if I rode a bicycle the 15 miles to work (even if that wasn’t taking my life into my hands), the body odor would be a sure non-starter. It’s hard to lead people to knowledge if they don’t want to be in the same room with you.

  58. People get trapped into a way of thinking and often go about solving the wrong problem. This whole discussion is framed in terms of solving the “transportation problem”. Transportation clearly has a value, and has for as long as there has been human civilization. The value of transportation is why the Romans built roads. It is why the Venetians, the Dutch and the British built merchant fleets and navies to protect them. It is why industrial nations built canals, then railroads, highways and airports.

    So it’s perfectly reasonable to look at ways of optimizing transportation — deriving the same benefits for less cost or more benefits for the same cost. We’ve been doing that all along.

    But it’s important to keep asking whether new technologies supersede some of the traditional thinking which has surrounded traditional transportation.

    Mail-order catalogs, using the transportation infrastructure of the late 19th and early 20th century greatly expanded access to modern manufactured goods for people in rural areas. Instead of making a long journey to the big city, going to a department store and loading up your wagon with stuff to cart back to the farm, the postal service brought you a catalog, and conveyed your order in a small envelope to Sears, who then packaged your order and sent it back to you by train, wagon, truck or whatever. In effect, life was improved by reducing the total amount of physical transportation needed to get new stuff to rural areas. When phone service developed beyond just local calling, mail-order became phone order, replacing physically transporting your order form with a phone call.

    Amazon and Federal Express continued this process, reducing the time from order to possession to the point where a significant percentage of total shopping is now done online. This is a huge boon especially for Christmas shopping, precisely because I no longer have to transport myself to a store. This is an improvement regardless of whether my saved trips would have been by rail, bus, automobile or bike.

    The discussion is framed the way it is to a significant extent because bureaucracies have been created and chartered to advocate for one or another form of physical transportation. In effect, there are large vested interests in continuing to think in the traditional ways. We should be looking for ways new technology can replace physical movement of people with electronic communication.

    In Atlanta traffic is much worse when the schools are in session and during the work commuting windows. If the workforce could work from home 1 day a week, that cuts down on getting people to and from work by 20%. And it will cost way less than making cars 20% more fuel efficient, or building 20% more light rail lines, or adding new bike lanes, or anything else anyone is talking about to “solve the transportation problem”.

    Ditto for having 1 day a week of at home virtual classrooms. These days every school kid must have a computer and access to the internet to do basic school work, and even to “hand in” assignments (I wonder when that usage will stop, since we still talk about “dialing” a phone number long after most phone users have never even seen, let alone used a rotary phone).

    And in Atlanta, as bad as traffic gets, it gets much, much, much worse when President Obama visits for any reason. I think the path to new thinking about transportation needs some leadership from the top. The president should stop flying everywhere to hold publicity events and fundraisers and use Skype instead. The president should play virtual golf instead of having the Secret Service shut down the whole course so he can get in a round. Keeping presidential visits from completely fouling up traffic in even large urban areas will save Billion$ and can be implemented immediately. I have a new study coming out which proves it.

  59. The Ice Cream Test

    Does your mode of transportation get the ice cream from the store to your home freezer before the ice cream melts? If so, then it is acceptable transportation, for the people in your family who prefer their ice cream frozen only once.

    It is noted a person could bicycle home the ice cream in below freezing air temperatures. How acceptable is that to the one doing the peddling? Does the bike have snow chains?

    • Ice cream? How much CO_2 is given off to help you make this frozen confection? Probably a pound for a pound, or even worse! Refrigeration, cooking the custard, transportation. And in the end, ice cream is terrible for you. Fat and sugar — why not just shoot yourself. Besides, the milk comes from antibiotic-laced cows, and raising cows is wrong, even for milk. They produce a small boatload of methane, exhale CO_2, consume grass and grains that are what we should be eating instead of things like ice cream. Besides, 2/3 of the world is lactose intolerant — eating ice cream is itself a subtle form of racism when everybody can’t do it. Wheat too. No more peanuts — who wants to make peanut allergic people feel bad?

      So don’t worry about the ice cream question. It will melt in the heat, along with the polar caps. In the new world there will be no ice cream.

      The only way to save the situation is, of course, to do the moral thing and die. If we could talk around 6.5 billion people into committing suicide tomorrow — problem solved. Heck, the survivors could probably even ice cream! I suggest that we offer people huge subsidies to kill themselves, and impose an equally huge death tax on their heirs. But we won’t tell people about that, at least not until it is too late. Think of it as a highly regressive social policy.

      rgb

      • Dr. RGB,
        LOL. Thanks. I needed a good chuckle, before I go and get my ice cream (if the lovely Mrs. hunter will permit….)

    • Obviously the advent of the private refrigerator/freezer is a contributory factor in the wasteful American suburban lifestyle. Without a fridge/freezer, we would need to live closer to the markets and shop more frequently.

  60. Common Sense Pt 1

    Quite right. It may surprise you to learn that in the case you’ve mentioned, I would drive my car. I employ the fundamental principle of using the right tool for the job, and right vehicle for the trip. I also try to avoid fool’s errands like hauling ice cream by bicycle over a long distance on a hot day.

    It’s a joy to be a human, and be so clever, don’t you think? – ☺ –

    Agreed too, it sucks riding in the cold, or when it’s raining. I avoid both, and drive my car.

    • I personally plan to quit eating by just about that time if not sooner, and expect that I will pretty much completely cease spending money then as well, aside from one massive blowout that I, sadly, will be unable to attend.

  61. Except that the cost of implementing public transportation anywhere that is not already densely populated (such as most of the US) far exceeds the resources available to do so. Hell, St. Louis, a metropolitan region of 3 million people (19th in the US), covers nearly 22,000 km2. Cars are a necessity when it takes 30 minutes just to get to a bus stop, and another 30 to get to whatever rail system is in place, followed by another 30 on the final bus trip to your destination.

    Out here in Colorado, public transportation only makes sense if you live in Colorado Springs and work in Denver (or vice versa)… let alone trips to the mountains from anywhere east of the front range.

    Liberaltopians envision a world full of New York City living centers with trips anywhere else only on “special occasions.” %×÷€ that. I’m here because I don’t like big cities.

    Mark

  62. Eric Sincere
    September 18, 2014 at 11:19 am

    Once crammed into habitation zones, the overlords will only need to shut down food/water/sewer systems. There, problem solved!
    ____________________________

    Righto. Such places were called Ghettos an had fences all around with guard towers and mounted machineguns. If that is what the ruling class wants, I don’t want that ruling class.

  63. Ten thousand words to say:

    “You Prole Peasants, Get the hell off the highway and make unobstructed driving for my government provided limo. I’m an important VIP!”

    Just like the Soviet Union used to do where they reserved lanes for the Party apparatchicks.

  64. The cover photo for the post is a view looking north along the 405 Freeway, just south of the 10 Freeway in West Los Angeles. The central planners just got finished with about $2,000,000,000.00 worth of car pool lane construction through the Sepulveda Pass about 5 miles to the north. My last several visits to the area showed that this particular transportation project hasn’t had much of an affect on the chronic traffic problem shown in the photo.

    • As I noted above, I have never seen a study showing that carpool (aka HOV) lanes increase ride-sharing. (It may, its just no studies have been done and I doubt if the increase would be statistically significant. It certainly isn’t traffic-significant.) I have seen studies that all the innovations (HOV lanes, metering, etc.) do make commutes longer. The only thing that helps is more lanes for everyone.

    • Having driven that lovely stretch of highway many times both ways for over 40 years, I can only offer my mournful observation that all improvements & upgrades to the 405-101 have been almost immediately overwhelmed by increased traffic.

      Hey, they upgraded the 405/101 – looks like a good time to move to 1000 Oaks!

  65. Over a million killed annually in car accidents worldwide. Divide that by total distance traveled and number of passengers. You get deaths per mile per passenger. I bet the deaths per mile per passenger of bicycles is higher than cars. If you replace half of the cars with bicycles, the death rate would be higher.

    Not against cycling. I like it as a sport. We all want to live in countrysides where cycling is safer. But according to urban planners, dense cities are more environment-friendly. I guess they envision mass transport system and walking.


    • If you replace half of the cars with bicycles, the death rate would be higher.

      Not necessarily, because the automobile is the primary agent of those bicycle fatalities.

      • Well I’m not going to blame the car, if the bike is riding backwards, down the wrong side of the road, where no car driver is going to expect to see it, and if they walked their bike across the pedestrian crossing, instead of illegally riding a bike on the pedestrian crossing, that too would improve biker safety.

        Proper biker behavior, such as for example, is not practiced in San Francisco, would greatly reduce biker accidents.

        Bikers are supposed to obey ALL traffic laws; not just the ones they approve of.

        PS: I’m a biker.

      • Most bicycle accidents I see reported in the media involve the rider being run down from the rear by a vehicle. Some of those collisions may not be the driver’s fault, but I suspect most of them are.

        Certainly, it is an extremely rare event when the bicycle comes out on top in any car-bike collision. I’ve never heard of such a case, but odd things happen, so who knows? A 175 lb. projectile traveling at 12 mph is capable of a lot less damage than a 2500 lb. projectile traveling 35 mph.

        Nobody stops being a fool just because they ride a bicycle, just like nobody becomes automatically smart or even cool by jumping in a Jaguar or Ferrari. The common reaction with some motorists is to condemn all bicyclists because they’ve seen some reckless or foolhardy rider(s) doing something thoughtless or dangerous.

        I’ve already had numerous instances where cars turning right blasted through the walk light, and I avoided injury by pulling up short instead of entering the crosswalk. In California, even in a crosswalk you are not safe. California has also very poorly designed crosswalk entry points. Who came up with that poor design? Crosswalks entry points in Colorado are superior.

        Where I live, pedestrians are frequently run down trying to cross busy streets away from the crosswalk. Bicyclists not so much, because a bike is potentially much faster than a pedestrian, and most of us don’t lollygag crossing a street

        Sorry George, your unrealistic example does not depict the reality I’ve seen and experienced in almost 60 years of riding a bike. Yes, some bike riders are idiots and ride wildly. Equally, some car drivers are distracted, going too fast, and impaired.

        Which is the greater danger?

  66. An expensive exercise would be to widen train tracks for a tripling of passenger capacity with wider more stable trains, it would also require a united effort from many different jurisdictions but it is the best way.

  67. “ITDP works with cities worldwide to bring about transport solutions that cut greenhouse gas emissions, reduce poverty, and improve the quality of urban life.”

    How does reducing carbon emissions reduce poverty? Someone give me the connection here. What I do know is the cost of reducing the CO2 emissions will shrink if not collapse the economy. Well dosen’t that mean more poverty? (and maybe wide spread starvation?)

    Cheers

    Roger
    http://www.thedemiseofchristchurch.com

    • dbstealey says: September 18, 2014 at 1:00 pm Dudley, “Relax, I wasn’t attacking you.”
      Thanks, Mr Stealey, I am happy to accept that explanation.

      Rogerthe surf, please note the commas in “solutions that cut greenhouse gas emissions, reduce poverty, and improve”. No linkage betweed “GGE” and “reduce poverty”. There are three separate items which they are hoping to achieve. I would argue that many of their transport solutions might cut greenhouse gas emissions, but increase poverty – IIRC the ITDP outfit is a bus promoter, with particular emphasis on BRT, which in the view of those who have studied it is a sham concept. If it manages to give the same service as light rail it costs nearly as much to build, and if it does not cost nearly as much it does not give good service. And it costs more to operate.

      Mr Stealey, I am pleased that you think I sound like a transit consultant you know – he (she?) must be a pretty good chap!

      Rgbatduke suggests: “The only way to save the situation is, of course, to do the moral thing and die. If we could talk around 6.5 billion people into committing suicide tomorrow — problem solved. . . . I suggest that we offer people huge subsidies to kill themselves, and impose an equally huge death tax on their heirs.”

      Oh dear, Mr B. Just think of all the coal, oil or gas needed to cremate all those bodies! If the CAGW people were even slightly serious they would be pushing as hard as possible the banning of crematoriums and cremations. Best idea is mincing and using as fertilizer, so less need for carbon dioxide to fertilize your plants and trees.

      • Dudley,

        Good. I never want to increase my circle of enemies. I have enough already because I wear my heart on my sleeve; my opinions are no secret. And yes, transit consultants are fine folks.

  68. Regardless of the Co2 issue — and on that point I am utterly convinced by the many fine posters on this site that it is better regarded as plant food than pollution — the advantages of building stronger urban mass transit systems and high speed interurban rail are compelling, and should be pursued vigorously by governments and private industry at all levels. I don’t hear anyone talking about taking your steering wheel out of your hands, but I do hear a strong case for having more transportation options. These include zip-cars and other innovative uses of the automobile, but also strengthened transit and rail, which are in many ways more efficient and effective than autos.

    • Well we have plenty of examples of “Transit” (whatever that is) and rail. They just don’t go where people want to go; nor do they go when people want to go.

      You can have my steering wheel, when you pry my cold dead fingers off it. Why is it, that people have time on their hands, to organize everybody else’s lives for them ?

      Get rid of your own car first, before coming and telling us to get rid of ours. I like mine; it gets between 40 and 50 miles per gallon, depending on how much of the road is reserved for the occasional transit bus to use.

  69. A couple of years ago I left Stockton CA, where I spent about 15 minutes commuting to and from work, to
    Stay with my parents for a couple of months while teaching a training class in San Francisco. While with my parents, I commuted by bus or “BART”. That public transit commute took me about an hour each way.

    I realize I’m comparing different commuting environments here, but I still think my main point is correct.
    Using public transportation may save on overall energy, but it costs a LOT more in time- if given a choice, most people would rather spend a little more to travel by auto, and save a LOT more in time.

  70. This is another policy area where Calif. needs to take the lead, and with policy safeguards where they cannot drag the rest of us in with some hidden clause in a congressional omnibus bill.

  71. The loss of $100 T from the US economy, should cost enough jobs and product output to save quite a bit of CO2 emission.

    So let’s get rid of a bunch more jobs and industry, and that will save even more CO2.

    I can’t even guess how many people that will end up killing, but I would guess quite a few. Maybe that’s a good thing.

    I can think of quite a few busybodies, that I would put on my list of preferred candidates for extinction.

  72. Just think how getting rid of the need to pump oil, will raise the cost of feedstocks for other industries, like cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals.

    Don’t forget to switch your electric car over to air bearings, as ordinary liquid lubricants will be far too expensive, once oil wells become a thing of the past.

    And I just heard that the summer of 2014 has been the hottest summer on record. No it couldn’t bee the highest temperature on record, as the Temperature hasn’t changed for almost 18 years; it’s just “hotter”, whatever that implies.

  73. I wonder when Boeing plans to introduce its first wind powered intercontinental air liner; should be a snap, since the both can use the same propeller.

    Yes the new utopia sans fossils, is something I would like to see.

    Oh and I would like to soon receive my share of that $100 T tax refund, that we will all be saving.

  74. In a less tongue in cheek vein, this “life after cars” insanity, is on a par, with Terraforming Mars, and thermonuclear fusion energy.

    On the latter, the September issue of Optics & Photonics News Journal carries a front cover story on the recent breakthrough in thermonuclear fusion energy, where at the US National Ignition Facility, they finally squished a 2 mm diameter plastic packet containing compressed and frozen Deuterium and Tritium, to produce more energy than all of the energy it took to run their giant laser, and all the control electronics, and fuse the DT to get helium.

    Why are they doing that? Just where on earth do you mine Tritium ?

    It seems that Thermonuclear, is the wind farm of nuclear energy; you need a fission reactor, to supply the fusion reactor, with Tritium.

    Well you could just squish DD, instead of DT, but then that takes a heck of a lot more energy to do, so they still are behind the 8-ball.

    Is there no end to the insanity of these dreamers. If you can make safe clean green fission nukes, to produce Tritium, why not just use them for fission powered nuclear energy.

    Also DT fusion produces oodles of fast neutrons (is that the 14 MeV neutrons), so nyet, of the clean green fusion mythology.

    • There are many sites where radioactive substances have polluted the Planet especially in former Soviet Union, forget CO2 the real ruination of the Earth is is happening under our noses.

  75. “Further, an estimated 1.4 million early deaths could be avoided annually” Hurray, eternal life, finally.

  76. According to the data in the article for the U.S., China, and India there will still be growth in emissions even under the High Shift scenario. The chances of implementing that scenario in all three nations are zero so this is a useless exercise in daydreaming. I’m sure it will be followed by much more fantasy at the UN Summit.

  77. http://www.indexmundi.com/energy.aspx?product=jet-fuel&graph=production+consumption

    According to this, jets dump 5.2 million barrels of semi-burned fuel into the air of the Earth every day. How many MT of CO2 will we save IF, instead of ruining our world economy we simply forbid commercial air traffic from taking off and close all the airports. Jet engines are the ONLY power producers that now have no pollution control devices added to them, whatsoever. 5.2M bbl/day = 104,390,000,000 gallons per year…about.
    Seems like we should eliminate the unnecessary luxury use of all fuels before the entire population has to walk to work every morning. Airplanes, yachts, etc….totally unnecessary.

    • Yes, Larry, we need to shut down everything that you see as non-essential because you, of course, are the judge of what is essential and what is non-essential. Notices that there would have to be exceptions such as: the armed services and medical transport.

      Therefore, the Government would be able to say, “What you want to do is non-essential, but what I want to do is essential — flying congressmen and presidents about on “fact-finding tours” or “official trips” that happen to coincide with fundraisers. Soon there will be other “non-essential” things that will be discovered. People really don’t need to travel between states unless it is on commercial trips… unless you are a part of the government. People really don’t need carpool lanes. Only government officials need to get there fast… along with those civilians who the government deems essential.

      Pretty soon we are all equal, but some are more equal than others. No thank you.

  78. “to ensure safe walking, bicycling and other active forms of transportation”

    Whoever wrote this report has never observed bicyclists in their natural habitat. Almost every day I see them speeding, ignoring traffic regulations and endangering everybody else (including themselves.)

    Oil-fueled cars are here to stay. Electric cars are cute, but they need electricity and if those in power continue with their insanity of pushing “renewable”, only very rich people will be able to afford electricity. Besides, I doubt there is any power grid in the world that can handle this. Hybrids cars are interesting, but the tech isn’t at a point where people can afford them. The prices I’ve seen are hair-raising.

    And that’s just talking of normal cars that people own, not going into transport. Trucks are here to stay as well.

    And yes, if we increase public transport, we’ll need more vehicles. Those vehicles need to be propelled somehow. There are no buses on the market that can run on electricity, they all eat fossil fuels. More buses = more fossil fuel emissions from buses. So, the idea is really just a publicity stunt.

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