Thursday, December 06, 2018

Lots Of Talk- Little Action

"Mobility solutions" is a big talking point these days.
The debate about electric motors on two wheeled vehicles that happen to also need human power, (Hybrid Powered Cycles) is now taking a back seat to "mobility solutions".


Okay, translation: Electric powered scooters, the aforementioned "HPC's", and electric cars and motorcycles for urban transportation. NOTE- No one is talking about buses or trains anymore. It's all about "personal" mobility, because these urban planners have given up on mass transportation because, let's face it folks- we are a bunch of spoiled brats. 

Yes. All. Of. Us.

I was talking with Mrs. Guitar Ted and some other friends about this subject over the last several days. I arrived at my conclusions by way of looking at history, of course. If you know anything about me, you know I am always interested in history. Where we are today is a product of our choices and by extension, that makes up our history. The consequences of which we will be dealing with for the next several generations.

It wasn't all that long ago. Maybe 150 years ago or so. Most folks didn't have the luxury of getting up and going any time they wanted to to, anywhere they wanted to go. You could walk. For sure. That took time to get anywhere. You maybe had a horse, if you were well enough off. Those required feed and care and a place to service their needs. Not everyone had those resources. Then there were some trains. Very limited in scope. And then there were wagons. Risky. Expensive. Required a horse. Usually a trip to anywhere was a very, very big deal in those days.

Since then we have come to a place where anyone can go anywhere at any time. If, let's say, car and truck traffic disappeared tomorrow, well, taking the economic impact out of that equation, you would have a whine go up, a hue and cry that would instigate revolution. Seriously. People would contemplate murder. If you saw what happened at gas stations during 9-11, you know what I am talking about. I saw it and heard it. It wasn't pretty. It was frightening.

I bring this up because all this utopian talk of electric this, mobility that is just talk. It isn't really going to happen anytime soon, because this generation that is already in cars isn't giving that "right" up without a fight. There will be a couple of generations that follow that will, most likely, be similar. We're talking decades of change.

We've already seen failed experiments in dockless bikes, electric scooters, and now the big corporations are co-opting "mobility" so as to have a hand in it. Harley-Davidson and GM being notable here. They will be hoping to direct the narrative on "mobility" for the future. You don't think they will do it just like the bike industry has in mind do you?

I don't think so......


Okie Outdoorsman said...

Good discussion, GT. I have often thought through the problems of modern transportation. It seems to me, and just my opinion, that the big players have determined that the future is in autonomous/driver-less, personal vehicles. There are many issues, and problems with this technology that has already transpired, and other problems that haven't surfaced yet. Just my opinion, but mass transit should have some place in our transportation scheme. The benefits are too great to ignore, such as decreased energy consumption. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out as time rolls on. Really enjoyed this post. It is good to look back, and see where we came from to help determine the direction we are going.

Boudin said...

I know I speak for urban planners everywhere when I say that we haven't given up on mass transit.

Zed F. said...

Any discussion of transportation is incomplete without considering zoning and mortgage regulations. As long as regulations favor single family houses and large commercial parking lots, automobiles will predominate, and transit, walking and cycling will take back seats.