REAL ALTERNATIVES

Real alternatives to the car are walking, possibly enhanced by moving beltways in high traffic areas such as cities CBD's, and facilitated everywhere by strategically placed roofs and shelters (more 1) , cycles, transit and goods delivery systems, and transport displacement through electronic communications, all of which can only come to full fruition if the car is banned. Transit and cycle systems would be different from those one sees on city streets today.

The upright model of bicycle survives only to coexist with the car, as it is visible to drivers; the lower slung recumbent (sitting down) cycle is better than the upright on all counts (more 2) ; only it is too low for car drivers to consistently see. Were cars banned it would come into its own.

Modern transit systems have evolved to complement the car culture, filling in gaps. "Transit Systems to Displace Cars" are qualitatively and quantitatively different to them and could handle all current personal transport within city boundaries in comfort and convenience and less cost to government or users than the car system, with substantial quality of life and ecological improvements.

Central to providing an alternative to cars is to have alternative means of handling cartage of goods and objects currently carried around in peoples' cars. Many of these are personal objects, work files or some sporting equipment, that would be almost as readily carried on spacious, uncluttered, uncrowded public transport. However the required role of taxi's should expand from purely personal transport to the capacity to carry large objects, major household objects between family and such, surfboards or whatever on the roof, towing boat or ultralight aircraft trailers or whatever is expected; perhaps with some change in vehicle type. The other central object, shopping, would require that all retailers, except perhaps knickknack or snack stalls, be compelled to offer, and cross subsidise, at least daily delivery services within a given geographic area. They can offer delivery either through inhouse means or commercial courier/delivery services; but cannot specifically charge for this service.

Having this system built into the price structure will seem to increase prices, and in the absence of a car ban it would; but because the cross subsidy of the inefficient and expensive car system is being removed, wages, parking lots, taxation etc., and economies of scale of delivery services improved, this system would actually reduce prices, and consumers pay less for goods to their door than they currently pay for goods needing a trip to the shopping mall. Orders could be placed either personally via a trip to the shops, or virtually via the Internet or phone.

We are still waiting for most retail chains to put their whole stock on Internet sites, but improvements in technology will eventually allow virtual shopping via simulated, and empty, supermarket aisles, where full packaging details can be read and possibly even fruit and vegetables visually inspected and store workers watched selecting and even packing the fruit and vegetables one has chosen. For this to work well would require a generally broadband data communications infrastructure, possibly the complete rollout of fibre-optic cable, another infrastructure that is moving slower than it should because of the monopolisation of public resources by the car culture.

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