The Antiplanner | Dedicated to the sunset of government planning
Yeah, who would want self drive cars?
"Cashman’s argument is that self-driving cars won’t be “affordable,” while public transit is. Excuse me? In 2014, American transit agencies spent $59 billion to move people 57 billion passenger miles (see page 106). That’s more than a dollar per passenger mile. All spending on cars and driving, meanwhile, amounted to $1.1 billion (add lines 54, 57, and 116 of table 2.5.5). Highway subsidies in 2014 were about $45 billion (subtract gas tax diversions to transit and non-highway purposes from “other taxes and fees”). For that cost, Americans drove 2.7 trillion vehicle miles in light-duty vehicles. At an average occupancy of 1.67 people per vehicle (see table 16), that’s 4.5 trillion passenger miles, which works out to an average cost of 26 cents a passenger mile."
Transit is only affordable because it is subsidized by taxpayers. In the real world, it is the private auto which is actually affordable, but the transit mafia has been adept at hiding this fact.
"Solnit’s argument is even more shallow. She rides transit, so therefore everyone else should too. Her argument would be only a little stronger if she didn’t admit that she herself has not yet “ditched her car entirely.” The reality is that transit only works for a few people, as suggested by the facts that Americans drove more than 1.9 trillion vehicle miles in urban areas in 2014 but rode transit only 57 billion passenger miles. At 1.67 people per vehicle, that means transit accounted for about 1.7 percent of motorized urban travel."
And understand, if we take New York transit out of this equation it would be dramatically less. New York is the only place in the US where transit makes any economic sense.
How the NYPD Resurrected the subway: Or the death of all other US transit
"Between 2005 and 2015, 100% of ridership increase in America's transit was in the New York subway! New York has always been special when it comes to transit, it is the only truly effective transit system in the US, and that is because of the incredible density of jobs in a very small area of Manhattan. No other city in America has this necessary element which allows transit to be effective."
"New York City subway accounts carries nearly 2.5 times the annual ridership of the other nine largest metro systems in the nation combined (Figure 2). This is 10 times that of Washington’s Metro, which is losing ridership despite strong population growth , probably partly due to safety concerns (see America’s Subway: America’s Embarrassment?). Things have gotten so bad in Washington that the federal government has threatened to close the system (See: Feds Forced to Set Priorities for Washington Subway)."
Back to the Antiplanner: "But Walker went on to argue that “technology never changes geometric facts.” That’s a ridiculous statement, as we know very well that steam trains, streetcars, and automobiles all resulted in major changes to urban landscapes. Since Henry Ford’s first use of the moving assembly line to make automobiles, for example, virtually all urban centers in the developed world have seen major declines in density. Manhattan, for example, had more than 2.3 million people in 1910; by 2010, it was less than 1.6 million. Most other centers have seen even greater declines.
So the question is not, as Walker poses it, will self-driving cars replace transit in really dense urban centers? Instead, it is, what will happen to those dense urban centers once self-driving cars give people even more freedom to live and work somewhere else?"
We seem to only be able to remember, or understand the immediate. I notice this whenever I see a list of top 10 items, great items of even a few years past will not be on the list, it is almost as if history only dates back a few years. We change our environment, it is what humans do. This will continue, no matter how much the historically challenged would like to believe otherwise. The horse and buggy set naysayed the advent of the auto, the film, The Magnificent Ambersons has a sub story about this, the film is quite good and worth a watch, for those who enjoy B&W classics.
But no amount of naysaying could stop the coming of the automobile, it added too much value, provided too much productivity, and made life much easier. So too with the self drive car, it will have the same shocking social shift as the auto. This will allow us to change our environment to better meet our needs, and desires. The naysayers will be left in the Surrey, buggy whip in hand, clamoring for attention, while no one listens.
The progressives have spent the past 30 remaking American cities in a 19th century rail model. This has done nothing to actually move people around the city. It is time we begin to rein in this nonsense, and begin to accept that our future will be molded by our transportation choices, and there is no evidence that those choices, outside of a few very large cities, will be related to our current transit fantasies.