The United States has 5% of the world’s population and 30% of the world’s automobiles, but it contributes 45% of the world’s automotive CO2 emissions.
In 2004, U.S. cars and light trucks emitted 314 million metric tons of carbon-equivalent (MMTc). That equals the amount of carbon in a coal train 50,000 miles long—enough to stretch 17 times between New York and San Francisco. In fact, the amount of CO2 emitted from oil used for transportation in the United States is similar to the amount from coal used to generate electricity.
Despite its relative safety, many people consider public transit dangerous and are reluctant to use it or support its expansion in their community (Ferrell, Mathur, and Mendoza 2008; Kennedy 2008). Several factors may contribute to this exaggerated fear. Transit travel requires passengers to be confined with strangers in sometimes crowded and uncomfortable vehicles and stations. Although most passengers are responsible, considerate, and clean, a (usually small) portion is anti-social, rude, and dirty. This can cause feelings of powerlessness, discomfort, and insecurity.
Disproportionate media coverage also can stimulate transit fear. Because transit accidents and assaults are infrequent, they tend to receive significant media coverage (Martin 2011). A fatal train or bus crash, or transit terrorism attack, often produces intense national and international media coverage, whereas fatal automobile crashes are so common they are usually reported only locally.
In addition, transit organizations can unintentionally increase fear with safety and security messages that emphasize dangers, including dramatic but unlikely threats such as terrorism, without counterbalancing messages about transit’s overall safety, such as those illustrated in Figure 9.
Researchers found that a fixed-route bus system in a community reduced annual manufacturing turnover by 1,100 to 1,200 jobs and annual turnover costs by $5.3 million to $6.1 million. In retailing, the turnover of employees was reduced by 900 to 1,000 jobs annually while yearly turnover costs were cut by $1.7 to $1.9 million."
Clara kann nachts nicht gut schlafen. Die vielen Autos, die bis spät in der
Nacht vor ihrem Fenster vorbeifahren, sind einfach zu laut. Hier, an der
autobahnähnlichen Ausfallstraße, sind die Mieten günstig, aber der Preis ist
hoch: Lärm- und Schadstoffbelastung ruinieren ihre Gesundheit. Aber auch
ihre Chefin, die sich eine Wohnung in bester Innenstadtlage leisten kann, klagt
über den Autolärm. Es wäre so schön auf ihrem Balkon, wenn man sich dort
doch wenigstens in normaler Lautstärke unterhalten könnte.
Do the Math: "We could use any number for the decline rate in our analysis, but I’ll actually soften the effect to a 2% annual decline to illustrate that we run into problems even at a modest rate of decline. By itself, a 2% decline year after year—while sounding mild—would send our growth-based economy into a tailspin. As detailed in a previous post, across-the-board efficiency improvements cannot tread water against a rate as high as 2% per year. As we’ll see next, the Energy Trap just makes things worse."