Cars: blessing or damn

Discussion in 'Conspiracies' started by Asexperia, May 21, 2019.

  1. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    How can you compare those options in a car-based economy, in a car-centric culture, where even wars, international feuds and costly ecological catastropes are caused by need to feed cars?
     
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  3. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    You estimate things. You consider how much effective public transportation would cost (and the damage it would do, and the cost, and the land it needs etc) based on actual buildout of subways, commuter rail and light rail. You use estimates for busing based on existing bus lines. You figure out how much the decrease in mobility costs people by comparing people who can drive and people who can't (lost their license, blind etc) while normalizing for the other factors that affect their employability/transportation flexibility.

    Consider it this way. There have been plenty of studies and comparisons made between a renewable-energy grid and a fossil fuel powered grid. How can we possibly do that since we don't have a renewable grid?
     
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  5. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    Okay. In terms of designing a city, you'd save an enormous amount by not needing to accommodate millions of cars:
    - the prime downtown real estate currently used for parking; corner lots occupied by gas stations, building used for garages and auto showrooms; the scrapyards and impound lots - all could be used more efficiently
    - Public transit would be far cheaper (because simpler) to design without having to take car traffic requirements into consideration
    - the same goes for traffic lights and street direction
    - two bicycle lanes could easily fit into one car lane, which leaves much wider sidewalks for cafes, street vendors and buskers
    - Pedestrian traffic is far more profitable for downtown retailers that car traffic, which needs parking space: less of the business would be diverted to the shopping malls, thus reviving the city core.
    - and then there is the hard-to-calculate, but certainly high, cost of human health issues
    but don't take my word for it
     
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  7. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    On the other hand, a big chunk of the economy would be gone.
     
  8. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Sure. You would have a lot of benefits; you'd also have losses in income for businesses there. There would be more space for business and retail, but handicapped/sick people would have more trouble getting around. You could narrow the streets but they'd still need to be big enough for trucks, ambulances, fire trucks and garbage trucks, so they couldn't just be bike lanes.

    Personally I think a good middle ground is congestion pricing. Slowly ramp it up until there aren't too many cars left in the city. Structure it so that EV's pay the least, so the air remains cleaner. Make carpools free, so the cars that are there are more efficiently used (and there are fewer to park.) Have exemptions for delivery vehicles and the like to support movement of goods.
     
  9. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, but we hardly ever calculate accurately the cost vs benefit of any particular aspect of an economy. When we start estimating, different people take different factors into account and ignore some other factors. It's very difficult, if not impossible, to consider every possible factor and also to count its costs and benefits accurately.
    Why? They're at a disadvantage vs automobiles at crosswalks and kerbs; on a level walkway, they'd be a lot safer. Wouldn't need the ramps or reserved parking spaces; just get off the wheel-trans and scoot along.
    You don't narrow the streets; you simply split one car lane into two bike lanes, liberating the equivalent of three lanes - for whatever. Since the center lanes are reserved for public transit, those can be used preferentially by emergency vehicles as well.
    Garbage pick-up, as well as street cleaning are done at night/dawn anyway; deliveries are at the back doors not main thoroughfares during business hours.
    Each of those cities have figured out a way to do it that works for them. So could all American cities that had the resolve to do so.
    But they'd face much stiffer resistance: Americans tend to be very closed-minded.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2019
  10. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    That's what I'm saying. We can't predict whether a world without cars would be "better" or "worse".
     
  11. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    Of course we can.
    What i said was we can't accurately calculate the $$ value of each factor in making a change from one main component to an economy to another.
    The big picture is easy:
    Fossil fuel use is killing the world. Not using fossil fuel might save the world. Alive is better than dead.
     

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