Multiple reasons, including a shift in population, cheaper technology, and globalization, led to the creation of a auto dependent suburb. Over the past half decade, the avoidable usage of personal automobiles has been a notorious contributor to the GHG and global warming. Although we now have capabilities to move into a non dependent world, we still fail to change our lifestyle. Three aspects of the suburb are necessary to prevent further global warming. The urban design of the suburb must be auspicious to non cars and conducive to walking. Also, more effective and readily available technologies need to provide a cheap and alternate solution. Lastly, we must have readily available information on the current effects that our personal auto while implementing incentives. Until then, it will be impossible to have change.
In part, the designers of the 50’s were not to blame. When towns were implemented as a network of streets, connected to other cities by new highways, it was the best available method of transportation(Farr). However, while unintentionally, the US constructed a civilization dependent on personal auto use. While many reaped the short term benefits, they did not foresee the inevitable failures. As the cost of gasoline and car’s rose, the average citizen has begun to contribute more of their income to transportation. (Condon)
Although today many realize the danger our world is in, more often than naught, people neglect the cost and environmental effects of driving. For instance, becoming LEED certified is becoming more popular as a way to create a green company stigma. However, while a building can produce more power for itself with solar panels, if it lacks readily available clean means of arrival, it’s users will generate massive amounts of waste (Wilson). Raising awareness on this idea of transportation intensity will help produce a better LEED building. By redefining the measurement of a buildings EI will help to promote transportation activism (Shwart).
Furthermore, while public transportation is typically readily available, people will rarely walk to it if it is more than .5 miles away. City layouts must be redesigned to support future transportation. Walkable cities allow people to feel comfortable on foot. (Stockton). Even the most scuttled centers can become user friendly like the transformation of TImes square (Sadik-Khan). Streets should be comfortable for not only car drivers but also bikers. For instance, one could reinvent the intersection to prevent car accidents and thereby promote more bikers (Vimeo). Lastly, innovative designs will invoke a sense of urgency in the new transportation such as the cycling utopia (LAVRINC).
However, public transportation is not necessarily for everyone. Improving the alternate methods of transportation include work by MIT and independent firms. The city car is an innovative redesign of the typical car. It removes all of the unused aspect of a car in the city and removes them thereby maximizing the efficiency. While it seems to be a good idea it has yet to move forward in production(Chin). Electric scooters and e-bikes are a viable options that allow users to travel efficiency while not breaking a sweat. (Saiki). Furthermore the rise in electric vehicles has helped to reduce the dependency on gasoline (Siceloff)
Aside from tangible productions, monetary incentives are often powerful motivators. Throughout the world, towns and countries are practicing multiple methods. For instance, a tax on the carbon produced by the gasoline you purchase would force people to reconsider their driving methods. Also, instead of taxing everyone on fixing roads and highways, what if only the people who used them were taxed? If you never drove, your money could go to parks and driveways. Many people would make the switch. (Mankiw) I believe, that once I produce the stats on how much it costs/ how much carbon is produced from driving to school everday, people may realized there inefficiency. However, until they have an imminent reason to change nothing will happen.