The Deeply Ingrained Car Culture
Most of us living in the US and Canada get to work by car. While I personally use my bike or public transportation, I am keenly aware that I am in the minority. I write this not to pass judgement, but rather simply to state the facts. In the United States, 86% of commuters get to work by car and more than three-quarters of those people drive to work alone. Canadian statistics are no better. Half the Canadian population commutes to work, and of those 74% drive there. Of these, the majority also tend to drive alone. The national average for solo drivers across Canada is 83%, compared with 76% in the US.
These numbers are staggering! Moreso when we consider the cost of all our vehicles. Both in terms of the money we dish out to purchase and maintain this lifestyle, as well as the very real costs to our long term health and the environment. Clearly this is an inefficient system. Not only do our cars rapidly deplete in value, contribute to the extensive use of fossil fuels, require copious amounts of resources to construct, and provide a substantial source of stress and loss of life, they also represent some of the least efficient instruments of our modern civilization. Particularly considering that cars spend the majority of their lifespan parked (and I don’t mean in traffic!). In the US cars are parked for 95% of the time, in the UK the number is closer to 96.5%. After carefully considering the cost benefit analysis our solo car commutes are evidently illogical. So, what are our options?