Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I'm sorry if this seems a little (or more than a little) scatterbrained.

Not at all; it's an excellent post.

I'm convinced that Americans must cut down on driving -- immediately, right away, now -- and that it is now too late for voluntary measures. We need either gasoline rationing, or heavy gasoline taxes above some level of usage per person (with negotiable ration coupons, I think), or... well, substitute your own best idea on how to strictly limit private driving.

We also must have subsidized public transportation, supported by higher gasoline taxes. Within cities, that means using short-distance intra-urban vehicles such as jitneys or small buses. These quick-pickup vehicles should pervade the urban area so that no one has to walk more than two blocks to get a ride.

Some of the jitneys should pick up and deliver people directly to their destinations rather than following a fixed path. Optimized GPS routing -- recalculated whenever a passenger requests a new destination or a new pickup location comes in from the dispatcher -- should greatly help to speed the trips. A good system would arrange rendezvous points where passengers can hop from one jitney to another in order to untangle complex trips. Live traffic reports must be funneled into the routing system -- a capability that will require custom engineering, in combination with properly funded, comprehensive traffic reporting.

The above measures are just the beginning. Next we need mandatory measures pertaining to optimized heating in cold climates; restrictions on airline transportation; required railroad shipping instead of trucking whenever possible, and... well, you get the idea.

It is long past time to get serious about all this.

by Ralph on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 03:01:09 PM EST

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