Is the End of Auto-cracy in Sight?
One of the biggest factors undermining a commons-based society during the 20th Century was the automobile. Untold billions of dollars of public money was spent to enshrine the private car as essential to modern life, first in the U.S. and then throughout the world.
The commons was sacrificed to achieve this manufactured dream of speed, privacy and convenience. The air was polluted, the climate altered, landscapes paved over, urban neighborhoods ripped apart, and the very nature of our social connections turned upside down. Streets, once public spaces used by everyone, became the exclusive domain of vehicles. Our public life declined, as people began to move about town isolated behind their windshields.
Problems caused by a transportation system dominated by automobiles have been apparent for decades, but little happened to change the situation. It was considered an impossible dream that we would embrace any other way of travel.
But there are growing signs that people now understand —even in auto-dominated America—that we must broaden our transportation system by giving significant funding to bikes, transit, trains and walking. The fate or our environment, economy and communities depend upon it.