America has a love affair with the automobile. That despite the never-ending clamor from the left that supposed love affair is on shaky ground, and therefore, we simply must embrace mass transit.
Because we’re driving less, car ownership per household is down.
And the percent of young people actually in possession of a driver’s license is down.
As one observer online has noted, Americans have not rejected cars. Their affection is evolving and maturing. They are getting smarter about how they use them. With gasoline more expensive and fitness more valued, they are more willing to leave their cars in the garage and walk or bike or car-share on short trips. They still support Detroit, but they also have access to the widest variety of makes and models — half of them import brands — in recent history, and all of them available at the most reasonable prices anywhere in the world.
In short, love affair…not over.
That won’t deter the crowd that so desperately wants us to abandon our vehicles and do anything else to get from Destination A to Destination B: Walk, skip, bicycle, skateboard, crawl on our bellies like reptiles.
When that fails, and it has miserably, you can always resort to….
Now it gets good.
Enter Jarrett Walker.
No relation to…just BTW.
Jarrett Walker is an international consultant in public transit planning and policy. He writes the blog Human Transit and is author of the book Human Transit: How Clearer Thinking about Public Transit Can Enrich Our Communities and Our Lives.
Never mind everything you’ve read so far, if you’ve gotten this far and if you did, good for you!
Forget facts and figures.
PLAY WORD GAMES!
In a recent article Walker says it’s all in how you make your argument.
Mass transit is “congestion free,” you fool.
It helps people see an interlinked system of frequent services that can be counted on to run reliably, regardless of whether they’re on rails or tires (or water).
One of the great values of the term is that everybody understands what “congestion-free” means.
If you just want to get there, or if you want to have access to as much of your city as possible, the distinction between rail, bus, and ferry matters less than you may think. What really matters is frequency, speed, and reliability, and that’s exactly what a congestion-free network describes.