guitarrista wrote: ↑
Tue Oct 17, 2017 4:53 pm
Pat Dodson wrote: ↑
Tue Oct 17, 2017 2:23 pm
Car users will ask:
Do they promote my independence and autonomy?
Only in North America can this be a legitimate question (and it is - I am not attacking you; it is being asked and you are just reporting it) in this context, given that there is such a thing as public transport. I still don't get how being driven (i.e. depending on it as you are not able to do it yourself in the case of a 80+yr old retiree, say) is going to be seen as being independent, yet using public transport is seen as losing independence and something uncouth.
I would have thought that it promotes your independence and autonomy because it is available on demand and takes you directly where you want to go. It means that you are not tied down to someone else's schedule and route, as you are with public transport, and that you don't have to change.
This doesn't apply only to North America, and it's not only in North America that public transport is often seen as a bit a dirty or uncouth. In the UK people call buses peasant wagons and the received wisdom is that there's a nutter on every one. Trains are not necessarily much better and can be seriously overcrowded. No matter where you are in the world, I think people would rather have their own private space where they are not being sneezed on, gurned at, or worse. I'm quite sure that elderly relatives of mine in the UK would think it was legitimate to ask whether driverless cars gave them more independence than the public transport system.
Public transport also has the huge benefit of high density thus high effectiveness in moving large amounts of people. The autonomous individual car is an iteration in the wrong direction, a very North American idea of unlimited resources and obsession with individual transportation. Unfortunately it is likely to persist, and even worse, extract a lot of concessions and money from cities (i.e. from taxpayers) to make cities even more car-centered.
Compared to what, though. Surely the driverless car model (yes I know it is some way off, but I think is coming) means fewer cars on the road, fewer RTA casualties, less congestion and less pollution than the existing model. It may not be as good from a social planning point of view as an enforced public transport system, but we are not in the USSR and individual preferences have to count for something. I don't see a preference for individual transport as a North American quirk, more like human nature.