Save the environment and eliminate traffic jams by building more cars!

6000 pounds of Packard

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I have a theory. I think the trouble with America is that we do not have enough cars.

Huh?!

Yup, that’s what I said. We need more cars.

Specifically we need more small cars. Used to be that all you could afford was one car per family. All that steel was expensive. If all you have is one car you have to make sure it is big enough for all occasions. The problem is that most of the time the driver is alone or only has one passenger, but just in case we get a bigger car.

So we built our whole transportation infrastructure on the idea of a 4-6 passanger car and the just-in-case-I-need-it-but-rarely-ever-use-it-for-more-than-groceries truck. Then since we were used to them being a big ticket item, manufacturers have found ways to make them stay expensive.

Mine truck,Sparwood,British Columbia

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Right sized vehicle for each trip

Now that the cost of materials is much lower relative to wages, and the cost of gas is higher, it makes sense to only use as much car as you actually need. If it is just you and one passenger, drive your two-passenger vehicle. When you are taking friends use your four or seven passenger vehicles. When you have cargo then and only then use your truck. Sound crazy? Not if they cost a 10th of what they do now.

Less trips

Because cars are more expensive than they have to be we find ourselves making extra trips and burning extra gas to make sharing vehicles work. This is especially true before and after school. For maximum benefit we would need to make it safe for kids to drive but that is another post. For now, yes, with computers this really is possible.

Sansome

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Parking

If people only drive their big car when they really need it then 80% of the time they will be driving something 1/4th the size of a compact. That means you can re-stripe half the parking lot and more than double your parking capacity.

Traffic

Fewer trips in some cases combined with smaller vehicles in most cases make for less traffic all the time. In addition, if small cars really catch on, you could turn a single lane into double motorcycle and mini-car only lanes in some places and add half lanes in other places.

DETROIT - JUNE 28:  DaimlerChrysler AG Chairma...

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Why not motorcycles?

Motorcycles are a great option for some, but they are considered less safe, they are no fun in the rain, and have several other problems associated with being open air vehicles. Europe has the right idea with the mini cars that are popular over there, but I think we could do better than that.

What do you think?

So that’s the dream. I have ideas on how we can make it happen too, but first do you think this is a good idea? Do you have other ideas for solving traffic, parking, fuel usage, and other related problems?

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7 responses to “Save the environment and eliminate traffic jams by building more cars!

  1. Actually… that’s not a bad dream, Luke. I’ll tell ya; when I was in Taiwan, it was AMAZING how many scooters could be parked in a tiny little spot!

  2. Very lateral thinking, Luke.

    Good points.

    Another trend which I hope will take place one day is that of small cars where the driver’s seat adjusts backward by a sufficient distance so as to allow large sized drivers to use them.

    Personally, as a single man, I myself make the vast majority of my trips by myself without any passengers, yet I am forced to drive a family sized car as smaller vehicles do not allow me sufficient room to control the vehicle safely or comfortably.

  3. Luke, In theory this makes perfect sense, but I have my doubts whether Americans will achieve a critical mass of consensus about this. Lots and lots of people want those big cars, trucks, and SUV’s. Why, I don’t know, but they do. It seemed like when gas hit $4/gallon people started changing their behavior. So what I’d like to see is the government tax gas up to $4-$5/gallon and give us some offsetting tax reductions. Do you think that would help the cause?

  4. That might help, but I sure wish we could find a better way. High gas prices mean higher freight costs, which in turn, increases the cost of everything. So all you really get is inflation.

    I am really not holding my breath for Americans to make the right choice. That would require a massive amount of education on how the economy really works, and Americans do not have the attention span to really learn and understand what it is really going to take to fix the mess they got themselves into over the last 90 years.

    To solve these and similar problems would require the majority of Americans to change their behavior in many areas all at once. It would require at least the majority of citizens, from teenagers on up, to start thinking and acting like adults. Since most boomers haven’t figured out how to do that yet, I don’t see us getting out of this pickle for quite a while.

    Could the government fix it? Maybe but they are just people too. They have the same lack of understanding and attention span as anyone else. It seems like everything they do to make things better just makes things worse.

  5. well seeing on how Americans are slowly decreasing the child birth rate because women are increasingly entering the work force and their careers over ride their need to be mothers smaller cars would be okay. But I dunno there seems to be a constant need for bigger and better though. Honestly now, many people would prefer a large nice car over a just as good one but smaller. I dunno the idea of bigger is better is still locked in our minds. So selling these alleged smaller cars would probably be hard i think. Good idea though.

  6. This would never work, it’s human nature, when people get rich, they will pay for bigger and luxurious cars, so this is more or less, an unrealistic solution. The best solution is what is already in the works, alternative fuels.

  7. What I think is the way to go is electric cars. The chevy volt is due out in 2010 I think. Its a 4 door car. charges the batt in 120volt outlet overnight. charge will last for 40 miles, then small gas gen to recharge batt on board.

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