We could have transportation that gives us more and takes less away, but it won’t build itself. That’s because car dependence works like a monopoly, where the government has given one mode—the private auto, built on decades of subsidies, still flowing 24/7—domination of the network.
But with investments in innovation and structural change, we could unlock new mobility options.
Here are some ways forward:
BUILD OUT SUPERMODES: The heart of overcoming car dependence is having alternative ways to get around that match the safety, cost, speed, and comfort of traveling inside a car. Two modes can do this easily, if given a fraction of the resources that have been subsidized for cars: High-functioning transit and complete grids of protected infrastructure for walking biking, and other human-sized rolling. Build out ecosystems of transit and active transportation to the extent we have done for cars.
ELECTRIFY AND MODE-SHIFT TOGETHER: Electrifying vehicles and shifting to a more diversified, pro-lightweight modal mix are both crucial for decarbonization. Science is clear that no matter how much you squint, neither alone will do it. By extension, the two need coordination. The potential of each affects the other, and the way they mix creates an investment profile that may or may not be geared for the most decarbonization. Get proactive about bringing these strategies together to prioritize for the greatest impact, to create synergies, and to avoid conflicts.
MAKE MULTIMODAL–CENTERED TRANSPORTATION PULL ITS WEIGHT FOR CLIMATE ACTION: Science says that transportation leadership, and specifically overcoming car dependence, is crucial for climate action. Secure commitments to total science-based climate action and ensure mobility-grounded transportation pathways are heading the charge.
RE-COMMISSION TRANSPORTATION: Our real daily menu of transportation choices comes from public policies that allocate space, rights, and funding. Expert career staff play a key role in making things happen, but make no mistake: The system is structured and maintained by values-based political decisions. Orient transportation towards being a platform of diverse co-equal mobility options by making it a priority of elected and executives leaders to do so, and empower implementing organizations to get the job done.
TAKE ON LOCK-IN: Car dependence is an expression of “carbon lock-in,” a phenomenon in which it’s hard for a single decision to change the system, and the daily decisions of all of us reinforce the status quo. Undertake campaigns and change initiatives that go about breaking free of lock-in with targeted, informed approaches for creating system change, as welll as avoiding lock-in further.
With help from policymakers, mobility program operators, investors, and grant-makers, these paths can lead us to more mobility options.
More Mobility is focused on helping leaders to develop initiatives and commitments that advance solutions in these areas. Watch here for new resource to come and also check out the blog, which will cover more on the scientific basis for solutions in these areas to unlock us.
Inquiries about collaboration are most welcome at the contact page.
towards transportation abundance