Can We Break Up With Our Cars?

The automotive industry has co-opted our language, and our brains. 

Cities all over the world are becoming aware of the damage of cars on human health and the environment, and we’re designing infrastructure to stem the horrific numbers of car crash deaths. Asbury Park is on it’s way to becoming a city where residents and visitors will be able to get around without cars. Our lives literally depend upon it.

This is a global issue.

Nordic countries are years ahead of the US.  We have serious work to do, and it starts with advocacy for a people-centered city.  We must all commit to less driving, and we must insist on infrastructure for bikes and walking, plus alternative transportation, mass transit, and micro mobility. The answer isn’t subsidizing low emission or electric cars (even though electric vehicles create less emissions, fossil fuels are required to power EV ), or ride share, or promoting autonomous vehicles. The answer is to globally reduce or eliminate vehicle dependency. #toomanycars

Cities Worldwide Are Re-imagining Their Relationship With Cars

Auto Industry Group: Need For Lower Carbon Footprint

Even auto industry groups admit that we’re on a collision course with global environmental impact of emissions. Green Car Reports predicts that almost double the number of cars will be on roads by 2035. “And that would require a major proportion of the global fleet to use some other form of propulsion with a far, far lower well-to-wheels carbon footprint.”  Advocates for the environment know that this is highly unlikely, and that the only solution is driving less and fewer cars on the road. This will require rethinking cities – creating places for people, less car dependency, better micro-mobility options, plus more and better infrastructure for biking and walking.

Cutting carbon: 80 percent needed

A 2.5-billion vehicle “global car parc” would mean that to keep carbon emissions level with today’s total, average fleet fuel efficiency would have to double.

But scientists suggest that it will be necessary to cut average carbon emissions 80 percent if we wish to stabilize the impact of climate change.

Traffic in China

Read about it in Green Car Reports:

https://www.greencarreports.com/news/1093560_1-2-billion-vehicles-on-worlds-roads-now-2-billion-by-2035-report

Design Safe Streets=Save The Planet

The transportation sector is responsible for around 14 percent of emissions.  (Meat production is worse for the environment, but that’s another story!)

“After decades of prioritizing transportation investments in new highways with a focus on speed above all else, we’re stuck with a transportation system that produces more carbon emissions than any other sector in the United States. Spread-out development facilitated by wide fast roads make cars all but essential for daily travel in many U.S. communities.”

More than half of vehicle emissions come from light-duty vehicles, which includes the cars we drive around in for most daily trips. Most car trips are usually less than three miles, and most of these trips are made by car, despite efforts in cities to promote alternative transportation options.

 

People are driving more – By some estimates, the total number of vehicles worldwide could double to 2.5 billion by 2050.  So the uptick in driving more is obliterating any emissions benefits, even with cleaner fuels, the prevalence of electric cars, and more efficient vehicles.  We can all make an effort to drive 10% less to make a difference. And designing “safer roads will increase rates of biking, walking, and transit ridership, and enable fewer and shorter car trips.”

Safety Over Speed: Safe Streets Are Climate-Friendly Streets

8 Nov 2019

Lowering speeds have more benefits besides saving lives: street designs that keep speeds low help reduce carbon emissions, too. In this blog post by our friends at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Ann Shikany and Carter Rubin discuss how safer roads increase rates of biking, walking, and transit ridership, and enable fewer and shorter car trips.

“In communities across the county, our transportation system provides key linkages for commuters to jobs, kids to school and all of us to our social, family and recreational opportunities.

But the flip-side is that after decades of prioritizing transportation investments in new highways with a focus on speed above all else, we’re stuck with a transportation system that produces more carbon emissions than any other sector in the United States. Spread-out development facilitated by wide fast roads make cars all but essential for daily travel in many U.S. communities.

When you dive deeper into those carbon emissions—you’ll find that 59 percent of them come from light-duty vehicles—that includes the cars we drive around in for most daily trips. While the majority of daily trips are less than three miles, most of them are made by car.

Even worse, transportation emissions are rising because people are driving more and making longer trips. Even with cleaner fuels (not to mention electric cars) and more efficient vehicles, the uptick in driving more is obliterating any emissions benefits.”

Read about it~

http://t4america.org/2019/11/08/safety-over-speed-safe-streets-are-climate-friendly-streets/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+transportationforamerica+%28Transportation+For+America+%28All%29%29

Our Lives Depend On It. The Future Of Transportation – It’s About Choices

The tools we need are right in front of us. If we have any hope of mitigating the effects of transportation on our health, climate, and our very lives, the solution is simple.  Bikes and other micro-transit, and buses/mass transit are obvious answers, and the elevator has also enabled people in cities to do more in less space, while in suburbia buildings are limited to one or two stories, requiring that residents are dependent on motor vehicles to get to work or for any services. This article covers every aspect in detail of why we must cut dependency on motor vehicles, while the industry continues to create ways to get more cars on the roads. Besides the critical health impacts from emissions, “last year, 36,560 Americans died in car crashes, not including 6,283 pedestrians killed by cars.” The auto industry has anesthetized us to these statistics, but we can wake up.

The Hyperloop and the Self-Driving Car Are Not the Future of Transportation

The bus, the bike, and the elevator are.

https://slate.com/technology/2019/10/future-of-transportation-bus-bike-elevator.html?fbclid=IwAR0E0nfkjXQji2OY9pZO9xKSmjii1Fje-XRaiuzJ7L8XvKoYx2bHUYtTtzU

One Thing We Can Do: Drive Less

Climate Action Doesn’t Have To Be Difficult.

Greta Thunberg is a climate change activist and a model for all of us, but we don’t all need to sail across the ocean in a solar powered racing yacht to make a difference.

One Thing We Can All Do Is Drive 10% Less. This “would be roughly 110 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, or the same as taking about 28 coal-fired power plants offline for a year.”

“Over one-third of all car trips are less than two miles, so walking, biking or taking public transport…” As a 1.4 mile square city, we can do this in Asbury Park!

By Tik Root and Aug. 28, 2019

“We’re not talking about getting rid of your car, just using it a little bit less. It turns out that even driving just 10 percent less — if everyone did it — would have a big impact on greenhouse gas emissions.

That’s because Americans drive trillions of miles every year, helping to make transportation the biggest contributor to United States greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2017, light-duty vehicles in the United States (including cars, S.U.V.s, pickups and most of the vehicles used for everyday life) produced 1,098 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents. That’s about one-fifth of the country’s total emissions footprint.”

Read more…

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/28/climate/one-thing-we-can-do-drive-less.html

Want To Save The Planet? Drive Less.

The bottom line is that we ALL need to drive less. Fuel efficient cars will never be enough. The federal government is buying into the hype that we need more and bigger highways to move more vehicles. The advertising biz is in on the plan too, encouraging us to buy cars that establish our identity, that make us feel powerful, sexy, and even environmentally conscious. The influence is coming from the industry of course, with the constant goal of selling more cars, whether gasoline powered or electric.  The recent introduction of electric cars to Asbury Park is to make it possible to live car-free, but still be able to access a vehicle when necessary. Reduce use, and reduce congestion and the use of fossil fuels. That’s the idea Asbury Park!

“Improvements in vehicle efficiency and vehicle electrification are being undermined by the way we design and spend money on our roadways. New highways, roads, and lanes induce more driving (Vehicle Miles Travleled, or VMT), which leads to more emissions and ultimately more congestion. This is called “induced demand.”  In fact, driving increases in exact proportion with lane-mileage—a 10% increase in lane miles will lead to a 10% increase in driving.
Though building more highways increases emissions, federal transportation spending actually encourages more driving and undermines limited investments in biking, walking, and transit.”

Electric cars won’t save the planet without a clean energy overhaul – they could increase pollution

“EVs have great potential to reduce pollution and give people a more sustainable way to get around – but electricity production must also be clean. It’s not wise to rely completely on scarce natural elements required for producing EVs and alternatives have to be explored. More recycling plants are needed to make the most out of rare elements and governments need to explore ways to ensure a smooth transition to cleaner transportation.”

Read about it:

http://theconversation.com/electric-cars-wont-save-the-planet-without-a-clean-energy-overhaul-they-could-increase-pollution-118012

GREEN Streets Act Introduced

In keeping with the GREEN Streets Act, this is Asbury Park’s goal: “…we must make it possible for people to take fewer and shorter car trips, as well as make it easy and convenient for people to bike, walk and use transit.”

Generating Resilient, Environmentally Exceptional National (GREEN) Streets Act introduced in the Senate today

Today Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Tom Carper (D-DE) introduced a bill that would measure and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and vehicle miles traveled. This would be transformative.

“Unfortunately, our federal transportation program forces people to drive more by measuring success through vehicle speed—not the time it actually takes people to reach their destination. Building wider highways and sprawling cities to accommodate high-speed driving creates a feedback loop of more driving, virtually guaranteeing ever-increasing transportation emissions (and congestion). “

APCSC Advocates For Less Car Dependence

Asbury Park is joining cities around the world which are increasingly piloting and implementing new mobility strategies to reduce vehicle congestion and curb carbon emissions.  Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition advocates for “improved mobility, equitable access and reduced car dependence in communities everywhere.”

#toomanycars

Streets for All Coalition unveiled to advocate for safe, clean mobility

Kristin Musulin

March 12, 2019

  • During a featured South by Southwest (SXSW) session dubbed “The Future of Transportation,” panelists unveiled the Streets for All Coalition, a group intended to advocate for “improved mobility, equitable access and reduced car dependence in communities everywhere.”    Read more…

https://www.smartcitiesdive.com/news/streets-for-all-coalition-safe-clean-mobility/550241/

Car-Free=Better Business

Don’t worry Asbury Park.  Even though “we’re unique…we’re not…Belmar, Avon, Paris, Copenhagen…” The increase in sales in the car-free district of central Madrid is not unusual. We see this data presented again and again from cities all over the world, and in the US.  Not only is business better, so is quality of life.

Closing Central Madrid To Cars Resulted In 9.5% Boost To Retail Spending, Finds Bank Analysis

Contributor

Transportation – I have been writing about the business of bicycles for 30+ years.

“Cities which want to boost takings in shops and restaurants should restrict access for motorists, a new study suggests.
The City of Madrid’s imposition of a “low-emission zone” for the Christmas period led to benefits to citizens as well as shops and restaurants – there was a 71% fall in air pollution during the period of the experimental motor-traffic restrictions.”
Read more…

https://www.forbes.com/sites/carltonreid/2019/03/08/closing-central-madrid-to-cars-resulted-in-9-5-boost-to-retail-spending-finds-bank-analysis/#4bdb04c555a7

Banning Cars

There are only 2 American cities among this list of 13 taking steps to reduce use of automotive vehicles. The US is in love with cars, particularly BIG cars, despite emissions and damage to the environment, and the fact that they are responsible for most pedestrian and bicyclist injuries and deaths.  Take a look at these cities without cars.  Thriving businesses and restaurants, people walking and on bikes, and few if any vehicles.  Wow, where do their delivery trucks park?

13 cities that are starting to ban cars

02 Mar 2018 Leanna Garfield

Germany’s highest administrative court ruled that, in an effort to improve urban air quality, cities can ban cars from some streets.

As the NYTimes notes, the ruling could open the floodgates for cities around the country to go car-free.

But German cities are not the only ones getting ready to take the car-free plunge. Urban planners and policy makers around the world have started to brainstorm ways that cities can create more space for pedestrians and lower CO2 emissions from diesel.

Here are 13 cities leading the car-free movement.

Oslo plans to permanently ban all cars from its city center by 2019 — six years before Norway’s country-wide ban would go into effect.

Read more…

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/03/13-cities-that-are-starting-to-ban-cars