Here are a few of the effects cars have on our lives.
- Urban form (big "traffic sewer" roads, ugly parking lots, strip malls)
- This is my biggest issue with cars. Instead of developing our retail in appealing walkable city centers, we spread it out over miles of lifeless parking-lot-centric development. Whenever we try to develop more interesting city centers, the cry goes up, "Not enough parking!"
- Environmental impacts (global warming, asthma)
- For many environmentalists, this is the major cause of automobile-induced consternation. It tends to be less of a focus of livable streets advocates, as evidenced in the lack of enthusiasm for electric cars.
- A future of low-emissions vehicles may help reduce global warming, but will continue to promote sprawl and congestion.
- Quality-of-life impacts
- Congestion-induced stress is a daily feature of many car-centered lives. For the average motorist, this is the likely the most bothersome aspect of cars.
- Cars enable a sedentary lifestyle and reduce our human-to-human contact.
- There is a strong correlation between driving and obesity.
- Every year, 45,000 people die in car crashes and 2.4 million are injured in the US. Our willingness to trade safety for mobility is amazing.
- The cost is born disproportionately by pedestrians and cyclists, who suffer all of the danger but get none of the mobility.
Which impact is most important to you?