Instead of Horns, Voice Today, most of the big cities centralize interests in improving and encouraging the private means of transportation instead of public. Driving a car can be very comfortable and pleasant, but it causes serious problems. Because of this, we all must change our mind about the ways we move daily and find different ways for locomotion. Mobility is a very exciting thing; the feeling of freedom that it gives can be very rewarding.
An example of that is the way society found to punish people: we put them in a prison and do not allow them to move for days, months or years. It is evident and natural that everybody needs to move around daily, whether it is to go to work or go to the supermarket. The most popular way of personal transportation in modern society is the car. A car represents much more than just a way of transportation. The idea of having a car these days transcends the basic idea of mobility; an automobile represents status and wealth while using alternative ways for transport such as bus, train, or bicycle are depreciated by society as being worse.
Looking at how society chooses to move within its territory can reveal a lot of things about what type of society it is. Giving priority to cars means not prioritizing the greater good; it is a selfish way of thinking. More cars being driven means more roads and parking lots, fewer public spaces and green areas, more traffic jams, and pollution. On the places that were supposed to have sidewalks, we now see a wide avenue, the park turned into a parking lot. Gradually, the cities are becoming a place adjusted for the cars instead of the dwellers.
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As many of the problems that vehicles may cause, the most discussed nowadays is the global warming. The air pollution made by cars and fossil fuel dependents increase the moisture level of the air, which causes the greenhouse effects. The pollution forms a layer around the atmosphere that makes the heat be reradiated from the surface to the atmosphere, causing the global warming. However, hope still exists for Planet Earth by the limitation of usage and dependency on fossil fuels.
Besides the main problem that cars cause for the environment, cars nowadays are much cleaner than before, the problem is that we have a lot more cars being driven on the streets and polluting the earth. In addition, cars demand a large amount of raw material to be made, and they produce a lot of waste. While driving the automobile, it is not only polluting gas that is being produced, it also affects the ground and water when the tires wear out and fluids, such as battery oil and gasoline, spill from the car.
Alternative forms of transportation such as walking and bicycling for short distances, and train, subway, trolley, light rail, bus, and car pooling for longer distances may be a good solution to solve a lot of problems. It will not only help in the amount of pollution in the atmosphere but also would bring benefits in other aspects of our lives; we would save money, it would reduce other types of pollution such as water, land and noise, it would give us a better quality of life, we would spend less time in stressful traffic and the cities would become a more pleasant place to live in.
Of course it is very difficult to convince people not to use their cars since we have an inexistent public transportation program; no buses, no trains, no bike lanes, and bad sidewalks. Once the authorities start improving the methods of transportation as well as promoting them, people will begin to see the advantages of changing one to another. Studies from the company EMBARQ have shown that cities can reduce up to 30% of the vehicular traffic over the next 3 to 5 years if improving the public transportation.
A good example that this improvement can cause big effects in cities is the Los Angeles Metro promotion; their urban transportation system authorities are making an innovating campaign for the city. In order to reduce the traffic, clean the air and make their lives less stressful, Los Angeles’ transit authorities start trying to convince people about the benefits of using public transportation. The way they found to do so was improving as much as possible the service quality offered for metro and buses lines, making them cleaner and more comfortable.
Then they worked to improve the image of it and get people out of their cars. They made buses appear more attractive with colorful paints and redesigned the metro stations with paint arts and music. At least, they started working on a marketing campaign to convince people to use their services and encouraging Angelinos to leave the car need. Another facet of public mobility that could replace the use of cars is cycling and walking. Better sidewalks and bike lines as well as providing free bikes rentals as many cities in Europe do would attract more people to use these means of transportation.
Walking and cycling can be a very pleasant way to move from one place to another in short distances and the gains that it causes are numerous. It gives people a slower-pace routine, and using legs to ride a bike or walk is a very good exercise that improves a lot of the body and mental health, it is free and can help to save a lot of money in gasoline and transport fares. It is also a pro-environment way of transportation that does not pollute, it helps to make a more attractive and green city where people can interact with others and with the city environment around them.
As a conclusion, changing one way of transportation to another is an action that takes long to happen and it takes a lot of effort both from authorities and citizens. However, if it be done, it will bring positive results for the whole society. The cities would become a better place to live, with streets populated by people and not by cars.
- Network, EMBARQ. “LA Metro: Promoting Mass Transport” Vimeo. 04 January 2010. Web. 19 April 2012.
- Pawley, Martin. “The War Against Car” Open Democracy. Globalization Transport. 8 May 2012. Web. 19 April 2012.
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