Ban Cars from City Centers

Reasons to Ban Cars

I was doing some reading yesterday about how London has a goal of becoming the first car free city by 2050. I began to wonder why other cities were not doing the same thing. I strongly believe that cars are on the decline, but not everyone has realized it yet. New ideas come and eventually the old must go. In the late 1800s many people theorized the end of cities because of horse pollution. Then miraculously cars appeared and horses vanished and for the next 100 years everybody loved cars. But not it is time to start pushing cars the way of horses.

Eventually we would want our cities to look like this. High density areas full of pedestrians, bikers and anyone wishing to use public transportation. While you may be skeptical, I admit that this would not work for every city, but where it does it would be much more efficient than car use and heres why.

Money Savings: According to Investopedia it costs the average American over $9,000 in today's dollars to own a car per year. Given that the average American brings in somewhere between $45 and $50 thousand per year, cars can eat up around 20% of pay. Imagine how much you could save becoming independent of a car. In some cities this is already possible. If you live near Boston's subway line, an unlimited monthly pass costs $70, or $840 per year or 10% of owning a car! Now public transportation may be less luxurious than driving a car, but if it bothers you that much you could always ride a bike or walk for even less money.

Energy Savings: This comes in really two forms. One is that all of a sudden we do not have to worry so much about earth using up all of it's resources. Of course, people outside of cities will still be driving, but overall numbers will go down and perhaps oil prices will fall. This affects you even without a car because oil still powers planes and trains.

Pollution Reduction: I thought this was similar to energy savings, but that it was important enough to get its own category. One of the biggest complaints about cities right now is air quality issues and a big part of the polluted air comes from motorized vehicles. Imagine suddenly there are no cars and pollution would drop dramatically. For anyone who cares about reducing carbon emissions, this is a big deal.

Increased SPEED: I really wanted you to see this one! Right now you may be thinking okay sure but cars are so fast. They are not. Cars can go fast, but only in the absence of other cars. If you really think that you can go fast in a car in the city you are crazy. For example, according to the New York Times traffic in Manhattan tends to move between 7 MPH and 13 MPH. 13 was achieved on days like New Years. You could run that fast. Public transportation and bikes already exceed these dismal car speeds and improving their networks will only serve to increase their speeds in the future.

Safer: Off to the side we have to consider safety. You are much more likely to die in a car than while using public transportation. You are also more likely to kill someone else and then go to jail. Actually, you are more likely to not only hit a person, but maybe a storefront or a monument or some other thing that will cost you your life savings to repair. This should not be the primary reason to reduce car use, but it certainly should not be ignored.