Sunday, April 3, 2011

Moving things around

I'm mostly concerned with passenger transportation, but I would like to spend a few posts talking about freight, also known as moving things around. It's another of those "muddle-headed transit advocates" topics that car apologists like to bring up, as in "You muddle-headed transit activists! Maybe you can move all the people around in trains and on foot, but what about trucks? Silly, you forgot that roads are also for moving things around! You don't want to be anti-truck, do you?"

Some people also use the freight issue against traffic calming and (bizarrely) road pricing. The argument goes something like this: "You muddle-headed street safety advocates! Don't you realize you'll slow the trucks down too! You'll ruin our struggling small businesses, and we'll lose the future to Atlanta!"

Of course, if our highways were only open to trucks we'd have much better freight movement, but a lane that's open to trucks is open to cars. In essence, private car owners are hiding their own greed and selfishness behind the genuine need to facilitate commerce.

Moving things around can also affect our goals directly. If we don't pay attention to freight hauling, it can be done in ways that pollute or injure people. It can be done in inefficient ways, and in ways that promote sprawl.

These are reasons why it's important for advocates of sustainable human transportation to pay attention to freight. I'm going to discuss various aspects of it in future posts, but if you've got your own blog, you're welcome to tackle it; let me know so that I can link to you.

No comments: