We release section collaborations with text Màrius Navazo of GEA21,originally published in Catalan in the number 59 of the magazine Sustainable Mobility of the Catalan association PTP (PROMOCIO Public Transport) and then expanded and translated into Castilian in the magazine City Live.
Do not be alarmed by the title, we have not gone mad …
CAR MANIFESTO IN DEFENSE
1. A very slow urban vehicle
The car in town is a very slow car. Just follow the results of urban racing transportation organized by the Association for the Promotion of Public Transport of Barcelona annually, where shows that the car often is slower than the most other modes [1. Race sustainable mobility, PTP] . In fact, on certain routes is classified in last place, which means that reaches’ behind the pedestrian !!! And this does not just happen in Barcelona city (2,000,000 inhabitants) but is worse in smaller cities like Hospitalet de Llobregat (400,000) or Sabadell (200,000 inhabitants). Therefore, it is urgent toimplement solutions to this landmark invention of the twentieth century to become competitive in our contemporary urban reality.
If the track is collapsed, the car slows. Image of Barcelona (source).
From the user’s perspective, often the competitiveness of the car is measuredby reliability and time savings compared to other modes of transport.Certainly, the car has the potential to offer both, but as long as at that time has a reduced number of cars in circulation. If not, the competitiveness of the car completely vanishes. And this is precisely what happens daily at times when society needs to move more (peak), subtracting guaranteed the competitiveness of the car only during off -peak hours. Therefore, the beneficial contribution of the car to individuals and society is limited because its widespread use makes it slow and unpredictable precisely at times of greatest social need for travel, exacerbating road congestion certain collective problems of public and environmental health . The challenge, then, is to get the car to be competitive also in rush hour, and both from an individual perspective and collectively ensuring that their positive aspects to surface, while the occurrence of adverse effects is minimized. And for this it is necessary to ensure that car use does not exceed that threshold massive use from which its positive aspects fade and appear strongly negative aspects.
2. Return the reliability the car
The traditional recipe to improve mobility drive has been , and in many ways still is – sadly increase capacity and free network: more roads, higher priority at intersections, plus parking and tolls less. But decades of investment in this regard have failed to improve the competitiveness of the car. Thus, the solution can not focus on providing more capacity and free, but reliable . That which can truly restore competitiveness to the car is that your users know reliably how long to spend on a journey and the time that they arrive at their destination without being subject to the unpredictability today associated with the road network. And reliability can only be achieved by reducing road congestion and ensuring parking.
Reduce road congestion through competitive alternatives back
We do not insist on the idea that the fundamental commitment to reduce road congestion is the modal shift to modes with great capacity to transport people and that, unlike the cars- not easily clog the infrastructures where move (ie on foot, bicycle and public transport). But it must be clear that this modal shift does not have to produce appealing to the social or environmental awareness of individuals as seems intending institutional- many campaigns but getting these modes of transport are competitive in time, reliable and safe. No we will expand on this point.
Moreover, when it comes to ensuring the parking we are thinking primarilyin the pricing of this natural and scarce resource -the urban – soil, just as we do with water, food or energy to rationalize consumption. Thus, the price regulating parking cords should get their use is maximized, but always guaranteeing some free space (see this previous post ).
3. To bring out the concept of “necessity” in car use
In short, through competitive return more sustainable modes and tariffed parking reliability is achieved giving the car because it significantly reduces and rationalizes the need to use it . And this is the key point. Certainly , the car will still be necessary on numerous occasions, and it is precisely in these times that we must ensure that surface the beneficial contributions of an invention like this .
But for the positive aspects of the car manifest must ensure that car use is restricted to cases needed: cover the routes where public transport is not profitable either socially or environmentally, improve the quality of life of people with Disabled (chronic or temporary), serving to transport personal goods, offer the possibility of moving in odd hours, or allow a journey door to door occasionally (ie, parking near the origin and destination).
Precisely recover the lost opportunity in many cities shuttling back door to door means competitive car. But the indispensable for enabling the door to door condition is to ensure that these are occasional. If they are to be everyday and mass, then the system is corrupted and it becomes impossible, as has been shown everywhere.
Therefore, contrary to what is often asserted, the favor that you have to do the car is not easy and cheap to get around. This path has proved to be a disservice to own car, while it leads to the globality of the transport system to incompetence by congestion of the road network and the lack of investment in more sustainable modes. Differently, the real favor by car is to implement alternatives and conditions for use to reduce the chances really necessary .
4. Competitiveness car = more advantages than disadvantages
From a collective perspective, avoiding the massive use of the car through the mechanisms discussed here means reducing the overall time that the company intended to travel, promote social equity and solve many of the major urban problems of the XXI century: road insecurity , noise and air pollution, and monopolization of public space by the car. And from an individual perspective, that user who needs to use the car at one point, it should be clear that the failure to design the instruments to avoid the massive use of car means that relegate sink and incompetence.
In conclusion, it is necessary to take off the blindfold that prevents us fromrecognizing that the car is generally the middle of slower within urban transport. The same band which, in turn, makes us believe that the car is the most fast and competitive, so closely as if the debate has run on deserted roads as he always does in television commercials. And apart from this idolatry, we must protect the areas in which the car has hardly rivals and precisely therefore becomes necessary.
While we may not be able to see that car everyday reality is the mode of transport stuck in congestions caused precisely because of its widespread use, we can not return the car competitive. And restore competitiveness, getting the car contribution both people and society more advantages than disadvantages, it has to be one of the primary objectives of contemporary urban policies.