a brand new Mercedes Benz. It was an E300 with a diesel that got 40
mpg. (I still tinker on old VW bugs, but only as a hobby--a way to
clear my mind.) When I lived in Seattle, I used to leave the Benz at
home to take public transportation. It took just as little time, or
even less, to ride the bus than to drive.
people, seemingly, are starting to recognize the benefits of public
transportation, leaving their beloved rides at home. In the past five
years, mass-transit ridership has been increasing across the country.
For instance, Amtrak ridership is at a record, and public buses are carrying more passengers.
an expansion of their mass transit with Prop 1 in November. And
California passed a $10 billion measure for high-speed trains to link
its major cities. The state's Web site includes an interactive map that shows trip visualizations.
It also computes how much CO2 can be saved on a trip! On a trip between
Fresno and Los Angeles, for example, the site claims an individual
would spare 191 pounds in carbon emissions.
are buzzwords floating around the incoming Obama administration.
They're proposing a jobs program that could kick-start the economy by
modernizing bridges, roads, and trains. And Vice-President Elect Biden
has been promoting magnetic levitation ("maglev") trains.
the trend toward mass transportation keeps growing, it will have its
own effect on culture. We'll see more urban clusters and humans living
in vertical structures with work and services within walking distance.
The near future promises to bring Americans to work toward the
collective goal of improving infrastructure. Who knows: Perhaps someday
we'll be connected physically as inexpensively and conveniently as we
are virtually on the Internet?