Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Week 5, post4?

I really enjoyed the reading on sustainable mobility in Massive Change. The city of Curitiba, Brazil and its use of public transportation seems to be what the blueprint for other cities should be. If public transportation was the main mode of transportation for the majority of people, it would then be easier to change those vehicles into vehicles that run on environmentally energy, have better mpg, and transport more people faster, rather than having people sit in traffic.
In my economics class, I read about how London has increased vehicle speeds by 37 percent and reduced carbon dioxide emissions from cars and trucks by 15 percent. The way they have done this is by tolling heavily congested roads during rush hour that are coming into the city. This would reduce the amount of traffic, increase the speed of cars, and could help in changing the cities public transit so that it can become the major way of traveling for people who are coming in and out of the city.
I always used to laugh at the people on the segway tours because I thought the people and machine looked incredibly stupid. After reading about the actual purpose and usefulness of them in urban environments, however, I have a different opinion. Though I think the aesthetics of a segway still need improving, the idea that an automatic vehicle for mid distance traveling has been a missing link from our transportation devices. Though I don’t know if the idea of a segway for transportation rather than recreation will ever occur, it is still helpful in finding new ways for environmentally friendly travel.


  1. What exactly did they say about Segways that actually sold you on the idea? They still seem to me to be part of the technofuturevision espoused by Mau in his book. I guess efficiency is a good thing if you have a utopian vision of civilization. But I don't! Hmmmmmm.....

  2. For years (decades?) Paris and London have charged heavy fees for driving into and parking within city limits primarily to reduce congestion and to reduce the negative environmental impact of cars. Mayor Daley had a great opportunity to encourage people to drive less by sponsoring more expensive parking meters, but instead he just made the change in parking policy to make a profit for the city, leaving everyone bitter, but still driving the same amount. I wonder how many people might be less mad about the new parking meters if the goal was to reduce pollution and improve peoples lives (both through cleaner air and by reducing the stress of driving). I imagine more people would be amicable to the change and would consider driving less if they thought of it in terms of improving their overall well-being.

  3. I guess that I'm not exactly sold on the idea, but i think the efficiency thing would be beneficial in the short run. I dont have a problem with the 'technofuturevision' in Mau's book. Maybe it might be unrealistic, but the technology is out there, i guess its just deciding whether it would be beneficial and what consequences it could cause.