Cars and Civilization

Jesse Ausubel sends along a link to his recent article: Cars and Civilization (pdf).

Rising incomes mean rising speed at all social levels. The rich, of course, accelerate more than
the poor. While poor means slow, even the slow today speed when compared with Queen Victoria.
In industrial countries, a poor man has a car and mobility superior to an ancient nobleman and at least equal to the Great Gatsby. When new travel modes are introduced, such as supersonic Concorde planes or maglevs, they will first be the province of the rich.

Worth reading if you like S-curves, travel time budgets, and other Macro-transportation topics. (Which of course, I do.)

One thought on “Cars and Civilization”

  1. Very interesting and unique approach. I learned a great deal. There was one draw back and may be I am not informed. I was not convinced that he had much evidence at all that Maglev was or would replace the car. Showing it so prominently as the next technology did not fit with the rest of the beautiful presentation.

    If I were to assess the infrastructure that is changing our culture, I would consider Mr. Google, Amazon and the interweb as the factors that make it appear we have reached peak car. Transportation of electric signals can in many cases be as effective as transport of mass.

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