Special Report: Walkable Streets

The Transportation Revolution is Coming

The car culture is a juggernaut, but we should all take comfort in the fact that in the background, several forces are working to our advantage.

By Matthew Sweet
Published November 18, 2013

The truest and most horrible claim made for modern transport is that it "annihilates space." It does. It annihilates one of the most glorious gifts we have been given. It is a vile inflation which lowers the value of distance, so that a modern boy travels a hundred miles with less sense of liberation and pilgrimage and adventure than his grandfather got from traveling ten. Of course if a man hates space and wants it to be annihilated, that is another matter. Why not creep into his coffin at once? There is little enough space there.

— C. S. Lewis

There is a general consensus among urban planners and policy makers, amateur and professional alike, that the driving force (pun intended) behind the way our cities are built and function has been the proliferation of private automobiles and the creation of the car culture.

There is an element of truth behind the myth of the automobile as freedom. Private automobiles did grant freedom to individuals and families to move out of the city into the suburbs, with large private lots, space from neighbours and the ability to commute on your own schedule longer distances than previously possible.

Commuting on Highway 401
Commuting on Highway 401

In the process, the car culture was born. As the car culture became entrenched, other alternative transportation methods became marginalized, demonized and ostracized. The car culture soon became a key defining feature of individuals in North America.

Nowadays, people are defined by their primary mode of transportation, complete with appropriate labels: drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, bus riders, listed in no particular order after the first and most important. Automobile ownership and driving became key social signals and status symbols.

All of this was possible because of several factors that converged in post-World War 2 North America. However, as 2014 looms on the horizon, several of those factors are trending in such a way that the hegemony of driving and the private automobile are under threat.

In this new environment, walking, cycling and taking transit are slowly rising from their prematurely dug graves.

Cycling and walking in particular put the car culture on its head. Cycling and walking are by their nature slow, local and active; driving is by its nature fast, distant and passive.

You may argue the comparative speed of driving and cycling on local streets, but the car culture values freeways and "the open road" far more than it does local movement.

But what are the various trends that are closing in on the car culture?

Cheap Energy

The most critical is energy. The car culture emerged hand-in-hand with extremely cheap, easily accessible fossil fuels. That era is coming to an end.

Chart: Crude Oil Prices Since 1861, Nominal and Real
Chart: Crude Oil Prices Since 1861, Nominal and Real

Conventional, easy oil has peaked (most peak oil theorists put the date in 2005). That peak coincided with the beginning of a period of price volatility in the cost of gasoline, most notably featuring spikes in 2005 and 2008.

The cost of gasoline greatly influences the amount of driving. In 2008 when energy prices rose, there was a noticeable shift towards active and public transportation. (However, not all of that shift can be attributed to energy prices, a point to which I will return below.)

Price volatility is likely to be a regular feature in energy and fossil fuels in the future, and that volatility will be key to future discussions on the resilience of our transportation systems.

Economics

Another trend working against the car culture is economics. By a variety of measures (recently reported in the Globe and Mail), economic inequality is worsening in Canada, as well as more famously in the United States. Working families are under increasing pressure while the rich continue to get richer.

Ironically, while financial institutions considered automobiles assets, in fact automobiles are massive liabilities. The average cost to operate an automobile is $8,000 per year. Automobile ownership is trending towards a luxury of the well-to-do.

Meanwhile, all levels of government are facing down huge infrastructure deficits, estimated at $150 million in Hamilton, $60 Billion in Ontario and $120 Billion nationally.

Roads constitute a significant portion of those deficits, making the current levels of driving financially unsustainable from an asset management perspective.

Demographics

Yet another trend is demographic. There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that North America has passed "peak car".

Chart: Estimated Vehicle Miles Driven on All Roads since 1970
Chart: Estimated Vehicle Miles Driven on All Roads since 1970

This trend seems to be emerging a way that is not wholly dependent on the economic crisis of 2008. Something else is at work here.

Younger demographics are not obtaining their driver's licenses as early as previous generations. Money and time is being devoted to mobile devices and social networking, which are easier to use while walking or taking transit as opposed to driving.

Meanwhile, Baby Boomers are retiring, representing a huge cohort of the population which will gradually no longer be physically able to drive.

Public Health

The final trend which is moving in lockstep with the car culture but which will ultimately threaten it is growing public health crises.

Obesity and diabetes are running rampant in North America as physical activity has been engineered out of our lives by the car culture and other factors.

As public health agencies tune in to the value of battling obesity and diabetes by encouraging active transportation, planners and transportation professionals obtain a new and influential ally.

More Resilient Alternatives

All of these forces slowly advancing on the car culture suggest that driving is the least resilient form of transportation available. Driving is susceptible from a variety of fronts. The alternatives are more resilient each for their own reasons.

Moreover, by persisting in putting all of our transportation eggs in one basket, the transportation system itself lacks resilience. Providing greater equality of opportunity for people to use various forms of transportation improves resiliency.

Activists and community members advocating for more and better transportation options should look to these trends as tools for their arguments. Simply put, the revolution in transportation is coming because so many separate yet connected issues are converging to force the hand of decision makers and planners.

Like any revolution, this will not be a single event, but will rather be an unfolding process over a lengthy period of time. As it unfolds, several recurring themes will feature.

Plenty of attention will be paid to divisive arguments, labels and demonization. For advocates, such things should be treated as unwanted distractions. Rather, every effort should be made to bring more and more people into the fold.

Hate the Game, Not the Players

In the best tradition of social movements, don't hate the individuals but rather hate the system that produces them. To borrow from Dr. Cornel West, rather than hating slave holders, hate slavery; rather than hating oligarchs, hate oligarchy.

Similarly, don't hate drivers who are simply doing what the system and the design of cities tells them to do; hate the car culture and focus the critique there.

Make no mistake, alternative transportation is a social movement. It is a social justice issue. Equity in transportation means cities cannot favour automobile owners at the expense of the less financially able members of the community. For example, Code Red neighbourhoods in Hamilton should be areas of focus for active transportation initiatives as a public health issue.

Yet, transportation is rife with politics and power dynamics. The car culture has been in power for decades and will not go quietly into the night.

We have to be engaged and actively involved at all levels, whether it be commenting on plans, writing letters to newspapers, publishing blog posts, or simply showing up to vote for candidates who support a more resilient transportation system.

The car culture is a juggernaut. Advocates have a long and difficult road ahead, filled with some victories and many defeats, but we should all take comfort in the fact that in the background the forces outlined above are working to our advantage.

Matthew Sweet is a graduate of Mohawk's Transportation Engineering Technology program and is also a McMaster alumnus. He currently works in Cambridge and lives in Hamilton. If you run into him in public at various transportation related events, please don't bring up his ramblings on RTH comment threads, everyone knows such things don't count in real life.

30 Comments

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Read Comments

[ - ]

By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted November 18, 2013 at 09:43:23

Since we're doing fun graphs, a semi-related one from this article:

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/11/16/...

oil screws up our economy

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2013-11-18 09:44:39

Permalink | Context

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted November 18, 2013 at 09:49:42 in reply to Comment 94839

Thanks to the Harper Government's priorities, Canada has caught a nasty bout of Dutch disease.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By StephenBarath (registered) | Posted November 18, 2013 at 09:51:21

This was very interesting. A few thoughts:

1) Yes, the concept of private automobiles has been enabled by cheap energy, but so have all other trappings of increasing prosperity. Cheap energy can not end, and will not end- cheap fossil fuels won’t even end soon, as demand shifts to other types of energy. (It’s hard to believe that fossil fuels are about to skyrocket, given natural gas prices of late.) An important trend very soon will be how cheap solar energy is now becoming- that sector is not far from making innovations that will make it extremely affordable. I know that oil is well-suited to fuel for automobiles, but we could make natural gas work, and we could make electricity work. We will, when necessary.

2) I couldn’t agree more about how expensive car ownership is for working-class families. I don’t think rising inequality will cause the decline of private auto ownership so much as the reverse: private auto ownership has exacerbated economic inequality. Either way, a lot of families will discover that they can barely afford one vehicle, let alone one for every adult member of the household- because they could never afford it. It was always a luxury, and believing that it should or could be attainable for most people was and continues to be very bad for a lot of people’s personal finances.

3) Given that fact, I really find it problematic when people say things like “cities cannot favour automobile owners at the expense of the less financially able members of the community.” It’s not a false statement at all, but to imply that people who use other forms of transportation are “less financially able” is not completely accurate. A typical Ontario household, who earns about $70,000 annually, is considered fairly well off, and probably maintains two vehicles. You claim the average cost of this is $8,000- I’ve read higher claims, and also think that there are costs that are never included. But that average Ontario household spends 23% of their income on car ownership- you’d do much better if you happened to earn less but could cut down to one or no vehicles. If we could get it framed not as public transit investment to help poor people, but rather to help middle-class people keep from becoming poor (I really do think car ownership is a huge reason for bad personal balance sheets), that would be a much more honest and accurate conversation.

One day, I envision important publicity campaigns directed at consumers, supported by an odd alliance of personal finance advocates, environmentalists, urbanists: “Driving makes you poor.” Someone will come up with a much better slogan, but that is I think the issue.

Permalink | Context

By matthewsweet (registered) | Posted November 19, 2013 at 13:33:20 in reply to Comment 94841

Cheap energy can not end, and will not end- cheap fossil fuels won’t even end soon, as demand shifts to other types of energy.

An important trend very soon will be how cheap solar energy is now becoming- that sector is not far from making innovations that will make it extremely affordable. I know that oil is well-suited to fuel for automobiles, but we could make natural gas work, and we could make electricity work. We will, when necessary.

Cheap fossil fuel energy has already ended; it is artificially kept cheap through massive government subsidies. New sources of fossil fuels being extracted via greater expense in extraction techniques (fracking, oil sands, etc, none of which represent innovations but are rather only economically viable due to rising prices / revenues) result in lower Return on Energy Investment. Further, you have to decide which it is - either demand will shift due to impending innovations which will level the playing field, or demand will shift because it is "necessary" which implies supply side issues.

I really find it problematic when people say things like “cities cannot favour automobile owners at the expense of the less financially able members of the community.” It’s not a false statement at all, but to imply that people who use other forms of transportation are “less financially able” is not completely accurate.

What is so problematic about a statement that is "not false"? The truth hurts I suppose, but this is only one part of the argument against the car culture. The number of people taking transit out of altruism, environmental consciousness etc is rather low. Economics tells a much larger part of the story. The key is to decouple vehicle ownership from social status and expose it as a lie which discounts the costs and inflates the benefits.

If we could get it framed not as public transit investment to help poor people, but rather to help middle-class people keep from becoming poor (I really do think car ownership is a huge reason for bad personal balance sheets), that would be a much more honest and accurate conversation.

Considering that the middle class is a shrinking demographic, I do not see this being helpful except from a marketing "feel good" perspective. If the best way to convince people to discard a vehicle in exchange for public transit or active transportation is to couch that discussion in a comfortable fantasy about being middle class, then it is inherently dishonest.

Permalink | Context

By StephenBarath (registered) | Posted November 19, 2013 at 14:22:20 in reply to Comment 94874

1) It’s certainly not inadmissible to think that fossil fuels are going to get more expensive. No one can claim that fossil fuels will not eventually become costly- they are finite, so of course they will. Whether that it is within the span of a human lifetime or not is questionable. That isn’t what you originally argued, though: you said that energy will become expensive, which is wrong. Other forms of energy are becoming dramatically more affordable, and there are reasons to believe (particularly with solar) that this will accelerate to the point where energy is genuinely abundant. Whether or not you think new extraction techniques are bona fide innovation is beside your point- cheap energy will make the private automobile untenable. Not so at all.

2) I agree when you say “the key is to decouple vehicle ownership from social status.” But I’m not sure how you’re doing it when you say “cities cannot favour automobile owners at the expense of the less financially able members of the community.” When you say that, you are expressing a belief in the notion that transit users are “less financially able,” which is not necessarily the case. You think that very few people are taking transit out of altruism, which is fine. But I’m telling you that taking transit makes one more financially healthy than owning and operating a private automobile. When you say “the truth hurts,” I think that you are trying to say that I am poor/disadvantaged, and offended by your statement since I take the bus. That’s not exactly what hurts: just that my belief is that taking transit is a beneficial economic decision, no matter your income level, and it adds no value to call transit users poor. To repeat: no one who takes the bus is “less financially able,” but rather MORE financially able (than if they had been had they insisted on maintaining and using a car).

3)“The middle class is a shrinking demographic.” Nonetheless, it is by far the largest demographic, so where else should we focus? I’m not positive what you’re trying to say. If the middle class is in decline, and that’s a bad thing, supporting public transit is part of the way (I would say a big part of the way) we can arrest that decline. Isn’t it obvious that the best way to convince someone of something is to explain to them why it’s better? But, anyway, if the term “middle class” doesn’t appeal to you, we can say it this way: reducing dependence on the private automobile will help any Canadian, regardless of income, to be better off. Is that okay?

You think that the culture of the car has to end for a variety of reasons. I don’t think it necessarily “has” to come to an end, but I think we should try to reduce its hold, so that the middle class (the majority of people) can be better off. You don’t like when I say “middle class” either because the “comfortable fantasy” is offensive to you; or because you think it’s crass that I would suggest we do something that benefits the majority of the population, instead of just the poor. Nonetheless, we both want the same thing: stronger investments to public transit. What do you think is the best way to convince other people that what we want is a good idea?

Permalink | Context

By ViennaCafe (registered) | Posted November 19, 2013 at 22:42:47 in reply to Comment 94881

1) It’s certainly not inadmissible to think that fossil fuels are going to get more expensive. No one can claim that fossil fuels will not eventually become costly- they are finite, so of course they will. Whether that it is within the span of a human lifetime or not is questionable. That isn’t what you originally argued, though: you said that energy will become expensive, which is wrong. Other forms of energy are becoming dramatically more affordable, and there are reasons to believe (particularly with solar) that this will accelerate to the point where energy is genuinely abundant. Whether or not you think new extraction techniques are bona fide innovation is beside your point- cheap energy will make the private automobile untenable. Not so at all.

This is a difficult argument you're trying to present. Energy has indeed become more expensive. It is the higher price being paid for energy that makes fracking, off shore oil, tar sands, etc ..., including solar, viable.

Another complicating matter is the cycle of energy boom and bust. We have been here before. The price of oil and gas increases, it peaks, society panics, invests in renewables, and then a new discovery is made (North Sea) or a new technology is uncovered (shale and fracking) prices decrease, the market returns to guzzlers and attention on renewables fade until the next crash. But, the price of energy, particularly oil and gas, trends steadily upwards.

I agree with the premise of the article but I am ambivalent as to whether oil prices will contribute greatly to the end of car culture. Not that I expect the current boom to last long, but because many people would give up their homes before they give up their cars. I think, more likely, a generational change will bring about an end to car culture.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted November 18, 2013 at 10:35:02

One of the best books analysing car culture is "Carjacked" by Lutz and and Fernandez (an anthropologist and and an economist):

http://www.carjacked.org/

This book is available at HPL and I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to understand the culture of cars in the United States and Canada. The main theme is that the the benefits of driving are over-emphasized while the costs are de-emphasized or entirely invisible.

The term car culture is used because members of a culture often do not notice aspects of their culture, especially bizarre or damaging ones, that are obvious to outsiders (a fish doesn't know it is in water).

The most basic example of how we ignore or minimize the effects of automobiles are the costs ($14,000 per year for the average American) and injuries (37,313 deaths and 2.5 million injuries in the USA each year).

The deaths and injuries are seen as inevitable, like natural disasters, or the result of "accidents" . The courts tend to back up this interpretation since killing pedestrians almost never attracts serious penalties (usually just a modest fine) and defences like "I didn't see the red light" are routinely accepted. This is in contrast to other cases of homicide (such as hunting deaths or industrial deaths of workers) which are treated much more seriously.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2013-11-18 10:36:45

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By movedtohamilton (registered) | Posted November 18, 2013 at 11:48:17

"I really find it problematic when people say things like “cities cannot favour automobile owners at the expense of the less financially able members of the community.” It’s not a false statement at all, but to imply that people who use other forms of transportation are “less financially able” is not completely accurate."

Great observation, Stephen.

Let's consider Hamilton public transit. One useful (albeit imperfect) way to gauge ridership income is out-of-home advertising. I ride an HSR bus route almost daily and there are virtually no "private-sector" ads; 99% of all ads are public service (usually public health messages). This tells me that advertisers long ago concluded that there are no "middle-class" riders on the buses, so it's waste of $ to promote their product or service. HSR cannot get any real revenue from this source, unlike Toronto and other cities.

There is a perception that people in Hamilton (lower city especially) ride the bus because they have to, not because they want to. So the irony is that while deciding not to own a vehicle is a smart financial decision, one is stigmatized. It then becomes a self-fulfilling assumptions vortex. HSR is not an innovative agency, and seems unresponsive to requests for simple things like providing real-time data, etc.

Thoughts?

Permalink | Context

By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted November 19, 2013 at 13:48:33 in reply to Comment 94843

Great observation. I looked around at the ads on the bus yesterday and there were only "ghetto" PSA ads, even the Public/Wind mobile ads are gone.

HSR cannot get any real revenue from this source

That's difficult to believe. I never met a marketer who couldn't fill every last square inch of space they were offered. There is definitely some failure to lure proper advertising considering I follow my fellow GO train riders onto an HSR bus almost every day, and we're a pretty middle class working bunch.

I hate ads generally speaking, but the presence of normal advertising (like on the GO) does help the already subsidized transit, and is a sign of life and vitality of the transit system.

The posters on the buses now, do paint a demographic picture of a mostly deserted ghetto prison bus.

Permalink | Context

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted November 19, 2013 at 15:21:08 in reply to Comment 94878

I think that part of the problem is that it is simpler for the ad company to sell one big bus wrap ad than lots of small inside ads. So they don't try too hard. Another point is that the HSR gets the "unsold" ad space for free and can then use them for various public service ads as they see fit ("her future is grey", "zero tolerance for violence" etc).

http://www.hamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/DED0...

The bus wrap ads are another example of how the HSR doesn't seem to care much about giving their paying riders a pleasant experience. When bus wraps first came out they were a sort of mesh that allowed riders a bit of a view out, and allowed passersby at least a bit of a view into the bus.

More recently, the wraps have become completely opaque, which means taking in the view (one of the minor pleasures of taking the bus) is now no longer possible, and the bus is dark. The fact that it is impossible to see who is in the bus from the outside is also off-putting for potential riders. This is just one more way the city is sending the message that providing a good service for bus-riders doesn't matter, they don't even care that passengers can't see out the windows if the advertisers want it that way!

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2013-11-19 15:24:09

Permalink | Context

By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted November 19, 2013 at 15:30:23 in reply to Comment 94886

Another good point. On unfamiliar routes I've had trouble looking for my stop through the mesh wrap; pretty annoying. But the actual space for ad posters was almost empty except for stern notices not to beat up the bus driver, and reminders of where one can exchange needles :/

Permalink | Context

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted November 18, 2013 at 13:43:19 in reply to Comment 94843

The problem is that the adverts on the HSR are not just generic public service messages, but are mostly aimed at social problems like alcoholism, child abuse, drug abuse (needle exchange programs), homelessness, emergency birth control, violence ("zero tolerance for violence") and subsidy programs for the poor. And there are always many adverts aimed at raising money or awareness for diseases (often using deliberately shocking language to get attention "cystic fibrosis is like drowning on the inside"). Although these are worthy issues and programs, the net effect on bus riders is to make their ride depressing. Why are bus riders forced to look at this smorgasbord of misery each time they ride the bus? It broadcasts the message that society considers that bus riders are a group of poor, homeless, violent drug abusers. And any casual rider is likely to be shocked by this very unusual range of advertising and wonder what sort of company they've got themselves into.

The contrast is driven home by the fact that the adverts on the OUTSIDE of the bus or, at bus shelters, are uniformly upbeat commercial ads for "normal" goods and services. In other words, society doesn't feel that motorists need to be informed of the important social problems and diseases that fill the inside of the bus.

The irony is that one of the largest groups of HSR users are high school, university and college students ... who are the prime target of advertisers. Why isn't the HSR highlighting the fact that many of their riders should in fact be a highly desirable audience?

Part of making transit attractive is making the ride pleasant ... filling the inside of the bus with depressing ads, full of graphic images and shocking messages, is not the way to succeed. Most other successful municipal transit systems do not do this, and neither does GO Transit.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2013-11-18 13:50:54

Permalink | Context

By Rimshot (anonymous) | Posted November 18, 2013 at 14:54:02 in reply to Comment 94845

Why wait until you're onboard? I've lost track of the number of downtown bus shelters with ads for gonorrhea, chlamydia and bedbug infestations.

Permalink | Context

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted November 18, 2013 at 15:19:10 in reply to Comment 94849

If the HSR is interested in making their service attractive to those who have a choice, it would be better to simply leave unsold ad space empty, or fill it with the work of local artists or poets, than use it as a dumping ground for those depressing ads they can't seem to find anywhere else to post. They could also insist on balance for those ads that are sold by the local advertising contractors. I'm not convinced that the advertisers actually know who is taking the bus ... they are probably just following the general prejudices of the general public. Does the HSR provide a demographic break-down of their riders to potential advertising agencies? I'm pretty sure the majority would be relatively young students, or commuters going to work.

After all, GO Transit doesn't feel a need to fill the inside of their buses with disturbing ad campaigns against the full spectrum social problems and diseases.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2013-11-18 15:21:28

Permalink | Context

By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted November 18, 2013 at 14:18:15 in reply to Comment 94845

Here's a horribly dark anti-smoking ad drawn by a teenager! Also, Pornography Hurts!

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By movedtohamilton (registered) | Posted November 18, 2013 at 14:18:13

(Hope I'm not taking this thread too far away from M. Sweet's article.)

Kevlahan has filled in details on my point. Yes, I was very surprised when I took my first ride on a bus. HSR reinforces: the messages that social service agencies try to communicate on daily basis; there are no people but "poor people" riding the buses. If HSR wants a much broader uptake in riders, the entire demographic and income profile of Hamilton needs to be a target. The message ought to be: taking transit is the smart economic choice.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Sadly (anonymous) | Posted November 18, 2013 at 14:20:36

Sadly, advertisers are a pretty savvy lot and placing ads where the valuable eyeballs are is an artform they've worked on for years --- they're actually pretty good at it. If there's no ads for the latest cell phone, mortgage offering or mutual fund on the bus, there is probably a reason for it (ie. few potential customers in the captive audience). That is one of the things we might see change if LRT or more, at least perceptually, luxe alternatives to the bus are embraced, built out and promoted here in town.
In the meantime, why don't we devote the space to public art (and I DO NOT mean graffiti!). Seeing what our local artists have to offer would be so much nicer than the dreck, voids and reminders of misery that we're faced with now.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Noted (anonymous) | Posted November 18, 2013 at 15:44:27

While CBS state that they are no longer prepared to sustain annual losses, they have expressed an interest in negotiating an amended contract for the final five year period in the alternative to outright cancellation effective December 31, 2010.

Staff has had an opportunity to survey other municipalities and are able to confirm that bus advertising contract renewals in recent years have experienced dramatic declines in benefits to the municipality relative to historical experience.

http://www.hamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/1E8E5FEB-197B-41B1-8E5F-2110C9E53ECD/0/Mar22EDRMS_n85152_v1_8_4__TOE01061a.pdf

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By unhyperbolic (anonymous) | Posted November 18, 2013 at 20:14:59

the single occupant automobile is the smoking of the next generation. the destruction and wilful ignorance will seem as improbable as lighting up a cigarette in a hospital in two decades.

Permalink | Context

By Zoltar_believer (anonymous) | Posted November 19, 2013 at 16:49:44 in reply to Comment 94853

Oh fabulous Zoltar, please tell me more of the future. Stoning a soccer mom on her way to pick up 4 kids from soccer sounds so appealing.

Permalink | Context

By unhyperbolic (anonymous) | Posted November 20, 2013 at 01:35:35 in reply to Comment 94902

exactly my point. if you had asked someone in the 1950's if it would be ILLEGAL to smoke in a park they would have responded in the exact same way.

Permalink | Context

By Zoltar_Believer (anonymous) | Posted November 20, 2013 at 09:32:56 in reply to Comment 95011

So you mean, in 2070 a single person in a fission powered mobile will be ostracized? Little melodramatic even for Zoltar.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Vote and win a grant! (anonymous) | Posted November 19, 2013 at 00:15:24

http://www.avivacommunityfund.org/ideas/acf19051

Direct funds into our community, lets win this grant!!

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By matthewsweet (registered) | Posted November 19, 2013 at 13:36:18

I like the discussion around the HSR advertising strategy, and I think this is a subject which deserves greater scrutiny and perhaps a public campaign to encourage the HSR to expand it's advertising horizons. The various comments are correct, that the tone of the advertising is a small but significant part of the experience of riding public transit.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Mal (anonymous) | Posted November 19, 2013 at 14:36:10

Another classic transit-centric campaign was Hamilton Civic League's (made in Burlington) "Want Change?" PSA leveraging urban cliche: empty, grease-spotted pizza box open next to an invisible beggar, or a graf-blighted brick wall.

http://civicleague.ca/media-initiatives

Permalink | Context

By seancb (registered) - website | Posted November 19, 2013 at 16:36:40 in reply to Comment 94883

I didn't get a "Beggar" vibe as much as I did a city that needs a cleanse... which it does (politically).

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By r. (anonymous) | Posted November 19, 2013 at 22:03:03

I like cycling but I wouldn't consider it a "healthy" alternative unless something is done about pollution. My throat has a negative reaction to cycling alongside heavy traffic sometimes (especially when there are trucks, it seems), even running has caused me to start coughing uncontrollably at least once.

Permalink | Context

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted November 20, 2013 at 11:20:11 in reply to Comment 94969

If you're sitting in a car, you're breathing the exact same pollution - and what's more, you're adding to it.

The evidence clearly indicates that commuting by bike rather than by car adds several years, net, to your life expectancy even when pollution and injury risk are taken into account.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By hyperbolic (anonymous) | Posted November 20, 2013 at 11:05:36

my god, your wit and rhetoric have showed me the err of my ways. you are right. the future will be exactly the same as the past. i would continue this telegram exchange but i need to go feed my horse so i can go to work.

Permalink | Context

By Zoltar_Believer (anonymous) | Posted November 20, 2013 at 12:11:42 in reply to Comment 95027

I agree technology will change. Ideally, I hope that vehicles will not be polluting machines. Just a little over the top to think that a non-polluting vehicle that is not at full capacity in 20 years (later exampled at 60 years) will be the "smoking" of the millenial years. But dramatic point taken. Carry on.

Permalink | Context

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to comment.

Events Calendar

Recent Articles

Article Archives

Blog Archives

Site Tools

Feeds