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xTransit: - Start here: Fair Mobility for the Transportation Majority

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  • Eric Britton
    xTransit: - Start here: Fair Mobility for the Transportation Majority Who needs it? Why bother if it s just for a few people? Let s concentrate on the big
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 13, 2006
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      xTransit: - Start here: Fair Mobility for the Transportation Majority


      "Who needs it?" "Why bother if it's just for a few people?" "Let's concentrate on the big problem."

      In the world of human mobility there is not one "big problem". There is, for better or worse, just an ever-changing heteroclite confluence of a very large number of people, daily life realities, needs, possibilities, and desires. The old mobility vision of society is essentially one of striding workers, with jobs, fixed hours, trips, roads and the list goes on - all of whom to be served by our "normal transportation arrangements".

      Then there are "the rest": the old, disabled, poor, etc., etc., and they too our bleeding hearts somehow figured out need to be catered to as well. Well, let's give them a bit here and there too. But most of our money is going to be spent on providing mobility arrangements for "normal people". That's right, isn't it.

      No, it's not at all right. It is wrong. It is wrong because it is grossly unfair and uncivil. And it is also just based on a false precept. Why? Because that splendid vision of society simply does not jibe with reality. It never did in the past, and as our societies age it increasingly is absurdly contrary to reality. Here is the surprise, the kicker:

      The "transportation majority" is not what most people think, transportation planners and policy makers included. The transportation majority are all those people who increasingly are poorly served by the mainline service arrangements that eat up most of our taxpayer money. And each year, as our populations age this majority grows in numbers.

      Here is a generic short-list of the people who make up this too now all too silent majority:

      • Everyone in your city, country or electorate who does not have a car
      • Everyone who cannot drive
      • Everyone who should not drive (for reasons of a variety of impediments such as limitations associated with age, psychological state , , , ,)
      • Everyone who cannot responsibly take the wheel at any given time (fatigue, distraction, nervousness, some form of intoxication. . . )
      • Everyone who cannot afford to own and operate a car of their own (And remember that costs a lot of after-tax money)
      • Everyone who lives in a large city and for reasons of density, public health and quality of cit life needs to have access to a non-car mobility system
      • Everyone who would in fact prefer to get around by walking, cycling or some form of shared transport who cannot safely or readily do so, because all the money is being spent on the car-based system which is fundamentally, and financially, incompatible with these "softer" and more healthy ways of getting around
      • Everyone who suffers from some form of impairment that makes driving or even access to traditional public transit difficult or impossible
      • All those who are today isolated and unable to participate in the life of our communities fully because they simply do not have a decent way to get around.
      • And -- don't lose sight of this! -- you in a few years

      And how are we going to provide for their mobility needs. Well for starters, by putting aside our old vision of the market and opening our eyes to the reality of the market. So let's get started.


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