The unveiling of futuristic concept cars is partly what makes major international auto shows so much fun. These outlandish vehicles ask the public to re-imagine the core idea of what a vehicle is supposed to do—and the essential relationship between car and driver. The Rinspeed microMAX, which will be displayed at this month’s Geneva Motor Show, is as provocative as (more…)
Those of us who live near major cities spend a great deal of time stuck in traffic, when we’re unfortunately enough to be forced to drive at rush-hour, or encounter some special circumstance like an accident. I’m sure many of us, in addition to the frustration we feel, wonder about the nature and cause of heavy traffic and how it may be avoided. (more…)
It is the dream of many urban planners to remove all the cars clogging the city streets. Who wants fast-moving, loud, heavy chunks of steel polluting the air and endangering people crossing the street? Some cities, such as London, have implemented a congestion toll on any vehicles entering the city center. Now there is a new group in the United (more…)
Between 1950 and 2008 more cars were added to our roads virtually every year as the total fleet expanded steadily from 49 million to 250 million vehicles. In 2009, however, 14 million cars were scrapped while only 10 million cars were sold, shrinking the fleet by 4 million vehicles, or nearly 2 percent. With record numbers of cars set to reach retirement age between now and 2020, the fleet could shrink by some 10 percent, dropping from the all-time high of 250 million in 2008 to 225 million in 2020.
The United States, with 246 million motor vehicles and 209 million licensed drivers, is facing market saturation. With 5 vehicles for every 4 drivers, the 4-million-vehicle contraction in the U.S. fleet in 2009 does not come as a great surprise. In a largely rural society, more cars provided mobility, but in a society that is now over 80 percent urban, more cars provide immobility.
In Cape Town, South Africa, as well as in many U.S. cities, wealthy suburban dwellers choke roads driving into the city, eschewing the public transit that shuttles blue collar workers. The addition of bus and rail lines in the city’s center in anticipation of hosting the 2010 World Cup has city leaders increasing efforts to get people out of their cars and on to public transit.
In Cape Town, most white collar workers drive themselves to work, fearing crime on trains and on the 20-seat shared taxis that shuttle one-third of inner city commuters. Business leaders from the Cape Town Partnership, along with the University of Michigan and Ford, are working with the city’s largest employers to get more of the 400,000 daily commuters moving by alternative modes of transportation by establishing mobility hubs.