Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Is It Time to Get Serious about Reducing the Impact Of Cars on Society?

Is it time for a real war on cars? (David Suzuki Foundation, Apr. 17, 2014)

Also discussed here: It's time for a bigger recall of a seriously defective product: The Car (Lloyd Alter, Treehugger, Apr. 3, 2014)

And here: The Growth of Car Culture (Urban Times, Nov. 2012)

Today we review a provocative article calling for a substantive effort to reduce the number of cars on the road and by doing that reduce the impact that cars have on our health and quality of life. Included in a number of suggestions are the collection of the costs to maintain infrastructure needed for cars and the full costs for health costs caused by cars and the costs for building walkable cities and alternative modes of transportation Revenue for these improvements would come from gas taxes and tolls on roads, bridges and freeways. . Signficant advances in GPS technology and computer communications make the collection of these funds much more feasible, effective and more convenient than ever before, reducing the overhead from over 50% to less than 5%. Time to get serious. death rates from cars  

Key Quotes:

Cars directly kill and hurt more people every year than most diseases, resulting in 1.5 million deaths and 78 million injuries needing medical care, according to the World Bank. Road injury is the eighth leading cause of death worldwide. Pollution from cars also causes acute and chronic health problems that often result in premature death — from heart disease and stroke to respiratory illness and lung cancer.”

Environmental impacts of cars are also well-known and wide-ranging, including climate change, smog and oily run-off from roads, not to mention the green space sacrificed for infrastructure to sell, drive, fuel and park them.”

"Since we can't recall every car all at once and redesign the entire country, there are at least things we can do to make it less bad. Significantly reduce speed limits. Make drivers pay the full cost of infrastructure construction and maintenance through the gas tax. Build the cost of medical care for those millions of injured by cars into the price of gas. Invest in walkable cities and alternative forms of transport."

“We take our cars for granted, but really, they haven’t been a part of our human culture for that long, and they needn’t be an essential part forever. – David Suzuki”

"Reinstate the progressive motor vehicle excise tax, hike the gas tax, and toll every freeway, bridge, and neighborhood street until the true cost of driving lies as heavy and noxious as our smog-laden air."

“Presently, more than 500 million cars are being consumed world-wide and this figure is expected to double by 2015“
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