"Loading..."
  • The Orange Pill
    There's Something Wrong With Suburbia

Cars Ruin Cities

Cars have become so intertwined with daily life that at first, it can be hard to see the true cost of cars—massive highways, oversized parking lots, traffic, noise, pollution, and more. Our communities were designed for cars, and they’ve left us (the people) behind.

There’s a better way to build our communities. You may enjoy driving, but there is no reason why your car should be a necessity. The overpriced gas you pay every week should be a choice, not a requirement for your day-to-day.

If this is the first time you’re hearing this, our ideas may sound absurd. I promise you, they’re not. Millions of families around the world are already enjoying their people-focused communities. Hear us out, have an open mind, and ask lots of questions.

© Ben Schumin | Wikimedia Commons
© AppalachianCentrist | Wikimedia Commons
© Robert Jack 啸风 Will | Wikimedia Commons

What's the problem with car dependency?

Over-reliance on cars takes a toll on humanity. We have normalized their pervasive presence so much that we now find ourselves living and working in places that do more to serve the needs of cars than of people. Cars demand more of people than the benefits they provide.

Overcoming car blindness and reducing dependence on driving can help us to reconnect with nature and the human condition and boost our health, happiness, and resilience. — Alex Dyer

Pollution

Cars are responsible for a significant amount of global and local pollution (microplastic waste, brake dust, embodiment emissions, tailpipe emissions, and noise pollution).

Infrastructure (Costs)

Cars create an unwanted economic burden on their communities. The infrastructure for cars is expensive to maintain and the burden for local communities is expected to increase. Learn about how car dependence is bankrupting American cities here.

Infrastructure (Land Usage & Induced Demand)

Cities allocate a vast amount of space to cars. This space could be used more effectively for things such as parks, schools, businesses, homes, but instead we build vast parking lots and widen roads and highways (that don't reduce traffic!).

Safety

Cars are dangerous to both occupants and non-occupants, but especially the non-occupants. For people walking, riding, or otherwise trying to exercise some form of car-free liberty cars are a constant threat.

Independence and Community Access

Cars are not accessible to everyone. Children and teenagers, people who can't afford a car, and many other people who are unable to drive. Imagine the challenge of giving up your car in the late stages of your life. In car-centric areas, you face a great loss of independence.

Social Isolation

A combination of the issues here produces the additional effect of social isolation. There are fewer opportunities for serendipitous interactions with other members of the public.

© JerzyGorecki | Pixabay
© Dark Serge | Wikimedia Commons
© B137 | Wikimedia Commons

What about...

Autonomous cars?

Self-driving cars can’t fix traffic, pollution, and sprawl. In fact, they may worsen it.

Ambulances and emergency vehicles?

Fewer cars would be helpful for emergency vehicles (reduced traffic) and result in fewer emergencies in the first place.

Delivery and cargo?

Larger delivery vehicles will continue to be a reality. However, their societal and environmental impacts can be minimized by replacing delivery trucks with freight trains, cargo bikes, smaller trucks where feasible and restricting deliveries to certain times.

Motorcycles?

They're better than cars, but they're loud and still largely depend on fossil fuels.

Electric Cars?

Electric cars continue to cause traffic violence, waste space and perpetuate sprawl, disproportionately burden the poorest and those who cannot drive, and will not be enough to tackle our climate and air pollution crisis. We need cleaner vehicles — but more importantly, we need cleaner built environments. Learn more.

Rural Areas?

Some work vehicles will always be necessary, however, North American "rural" areas are still far more car dependent than elsewhere in the world. Learn about how rural towns can be built better here. Learn more about how we've destroyed villages here.

© Not Just Bikes | Youtube
© Not Just Bikes | Youtube
© Not Just Bikes | Youtube

The Solution

"Wider, faster, treeless roads not only ruin our public spaces, they kill people. Taking highway standards and applying them to urban and suburban streets, and even country roads, costs us thousands of lives every year. There is no earthly reason why an engineer would ever design a 14-foot lane for a city block, yet we do it continually. Why? The answer is utterly shameful: Because that is the standard."

- Charles Marohn, Confessions of a Recovering Engineer

The first step forward is recognize there is a problem. We've been so accustomed to our current city design, we don't recognize how damaging it is to our health, our families, our communities, our time, our freedoms, and our wallets.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for every city, but a shift away from car-dependent design and towards walkable environments is possible.

© Not Just Bikes | Youtube
© Not Just Bikes | Youtube
© Not Just Bikes | Youtube

Ready to learn more? Ask questions and engage with the following subreddit:

Additional Resources

Learn more about how car dependency is financially cripling your city, polluting the Earth, and ruining social connectivity.