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Thread: What if cars went bye bye?

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    Default What if cars went bye bye?

    I was working with my students in our basic physics lessons with momentum and velocity. One train of thought lead to another and we of course were talking about bicycles vs. cars as far as energy in these situations.

    A student posed a question that was kind of interesting.

    "What if all the cars right now, were taken away?"

    Not that they had never been invented, but right now some how all cars would simply vanish.

    So I wanted to pose to the lot of you, what do you educated cats think would happen?

    I want to share some of the answers with my students.

    Thanks.
    Dave Bradley...not the grumpy old Hogwarts caretaker "Mr. Filch" or the star of American Ninja 3 and 4.

    formerly "Mr.President"

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    A more interesting question would be what if humanity simply vanished from the planet, say due to a catastrophic epidemic.

    But if cars went away right now there'd be pandemonium for a while and then the world would figure it out. Cars have only been a part of the lives of most of the modern world for about 90 years.

    My former mother-in-law doesn't have a drivers license. But in Europe living without a car is not only possible it's actually desirable and easy.
    La Cheeserie!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Saab2000 View Post
    A more interesting question would be what if humanity simply vanished from the planet, say due to a catastrophic epidemic.

    But if cars went away right now there'd be pandemonium for a while and then the world would figure it out. Cars have only been a part of the lives of most of the modern world for about 90 years.

    My former mother-in-law doesn't have a drivers license. But in Europe living without a car is not only possible it's actually desirable and easy.

    Saab, these are 10 & 11 year olds. Humanity vanishing doesn't come up until we study Aliens! :)

    But duly noted. :biggrin:
    Dave Bradley...not the grumpy old Hogwarts caretaker "Mr. Filch" or the star of American Ninja 3 and 4.

    formerly "Mr.President"

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    Does this include 18 wheel trucks?
    life is too short to drink bad wine....

    Stuart Levy

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    way back in 1977 my brother and i spent a summer racing and riding around cambridge, england. we had a riding buddy who was in his 60s and rode a SA 3-speed because he didn't trust these new-fangled derailers. george had been too young for the great war, had fought in spain against franco, and had served on the home guard in the uk during ww2.

    he pointed out that during the war, with rubber and petrol severely rationed, automotive traffic was almost non-existent - but the roads were in great shape.

    he said it was like riding in paradise.
    Steve Hampsten
    www.hampsten.blogspot.com
    "Tighten the wingnuts!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by znfdl View Post
    Does this include 18 wheel trucks?
    That'd be actually worse than if cars went away. No food or goods would get to market.

    If cars or easy transportation actually ceased to exist there would be starvation on a large scale in the US and a breakdown of society would take place.

    For better or worse, automobiles have allowed massive modernization of the world.
    La Cheeserie!

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    Mass chaos.

    We have come to depend on the shrinking of distance a car affords - We can easily work many miles from our homes, easily carry large loads (like groceries or flat-panel TVs) long distances from stores to our home, and can easily visit far-flung family and friends.

    Other modes of rapid transportation - buses, trains, planes - could be ramped up to fulfill these needs (and some of us are fortunate to live in areas where public transportation can already adequately handle a lot of our needs), but right now they are completely inadequate to meet the needs of the vast majority of the US. It would take decades to roll out the necessary infrastructure.

    There are very few places in the US where people can live easily without a car. NYC is probably one. I personally drive less and less, and could probably get by on a day-to-day basis here in Boston, but it would be inconvenient. Lots of people I know here could not easily live their current lives without a car.

    Bikes only enter the picture when goods & services are available close enough to home to make them practical as shopping/transporting devices.

    We've spent a century creating this dependence. It will take a good long time to change that, if indeed it's the way events are pushing us. Personally, I believe we'll see more efficient, greener personal transportation, but nothing like the death of the automobile.
    GO!

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    There'd be a lot more fast bicycle riders out there.

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    Last week I was reviewing a proposal for a new low-income housing development which, contrary to agency design standards, did not provide off-street parking. By way of explanation/justification, the applicants pointed out that barely 10% of households in the neighborhood (central Bronx) had cars.

    The site was adjacent to a subway line and bus routes, with shopping within walking distance as well. So well-established, dense neighborhoods like this would do perfectly well without cars. Nearby suburbs (with commuter train and local bus service and established retail centers) would adopt, too. Its the exurbs and beyond that would be SOL.

    The collapse of the long-commute housing market once gas spiked at $4/gall. was a foretaste of what would happen without cheap (i.e. socially subsidized) personal transport.
    Based on a true story.

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    Post Interesting school project!

    Disappearance of cars in the short term would be an unmitigated disaster.
    They facilitate commerce, speed medical care, allow for relatively cost-efficient transport of goods & services, and permit personal travel that would be virtually impossible without their presence.

    As cities and suburbs continue to be planned, expanded, and built, hopefully we will see a decreased reliance on individual automobiles over the decades and centuries to come.
    In the near term they remain very important components in our transportation infrastructure.

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    If anything that drastic is done quickly it would have massive negative repercussions. More realistically, what would things look like if cars & trucks were gradually reduced in number by a total of 90% over the next 10-20 years?

    What would US society look like then?

    Trains, streetcars, buses, etc. - and more bicycles.

    M

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    Default If they suddenly went away?

    I'd learn to like the taste of leaves, bark and squirrels.

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    its a good way into teaching the monkeys about complex systems and giving them a chance to abstract it to nature, political interventions, diversity, or any complex structure... involving interdependency.

    or turn them onto this

    http://www.copenhagenize.com/2008/11...in-sweden.html
    shrink, terrorist, poet, president of concerned cyclists for the abolishment of bovine source bicycle parts and head of the disaffected commie dishwashers union.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom View Post
    I'd learn to like the taste of leaves, bark and squirrels.
    I don't think it would be so desperate... though i've never had squirrel stew and can't comment on what such desperation would taste like... initial chaos sounds about right, but I think people would come up with solutions to the change rather quickly. Among other things, we would start to see polytunnels and pigs in the backyard. In terms of food, communities would become self sufficient quickly. The results, appreciated both as pure olfactory pleasure and richness of social interaction, would be wonderful. Overall, I think such a change would force us to clarify what things are truly important. We would have to focus our daily efforts on the necessary and truly desirable. Obviously, trade would continue by boat and train, but i think that more importance would be placed on local craft and production...frame building for instance.

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    The big three would be facing bankruptcy?

    And a lot of out of shape obese people would starve, because they couldn't make it the Claim Jumper for dinner.

    But seriously, if there were no cars, we would see lighted, covered bike lanes in major thoroughfares.

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    Quote Originally Posted by swoop View Post
    its a good way into teaching the monkeys about complex systems and giving them a chance to abstract it to nature, political interventions, diversity, or any complex structure... involving interdependency.

    or turn them onto this

    http://www.copenhagenize.com/2008/11...in-sweden.html
    ^^ total bike rider. How dare he dis on cyclists!
    we are about to break the surly bonds of gravity and punch the face of God!

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    Default drastic changes...

    Incremental changes can be more difficult than huge leaps, this is why the military uses boot camps to make sweeping behavioral changes. Look at the changes in NY following the collapse of the twin towers, people pulled together and put aside massive differences to make life possible. It's the frog in the pot that doesn't notice the small changes and then can't make the big ones that is our real problem. When gas prices went up people stopped driving as much, stopped speeding to save fuel and fatalities on the road were reduced and now that prices are dropping people are right back at it without regard to long the long term prognosis.

    Maybe with cars disappearing we'd innovate and cooperate...at least it's the alternative to catastrophizing the possibility.

    Forgot to mention that over 30million people have died in cars since it's invention. Cars use oil or "spice" in the book "Dune" and are used to "fold space and time" and in the film a war was fought on the planet "Irrakis" (Iraqi's) to control the flow of the spice..."he who controls the spice controls the universe"! But why do we want to go so fast...where are we going in this rush?
    Last edited by sloji; 12-01-2008 at 03:20 PM.

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    I've happily made it to 40 without a car. Obviously, not everyone is prepared to do it,
    and I just wonder if it even occurs to people that it's possible.

    Anyone have an idea what their car expenses add up to over 24 years?

    -g

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrantM View Post
    I've happily made it to 40 without a car. Obviously, not everyone is prepared to do it,
    and I just wonder if it even occurs to people that it's possible.

    Anyone have an idea what their car expenses add up to over 24 years?

    -g
    It has definitely occurred to me to try it. I am planning on beginning to think about contacting someone to talk about the possibility of maybe, perhaps, buying a condo in DC, where there is good public transit. I estimate that I would save at least $500/month from my current budget and probably more.
    La Cheeserie!

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    sounds like a great "project" Prez. The thing about cars (and I am pretty anti--though I know the sentiment is not shared on this list), is that Americans do everything to the "nth". So in order for change to happen, drastic measures need to be induced for folks to make changes or take notice. Cars have their place. But going grocery shopping, soccer practice, (driven to school for crying out loud!?!?!), or even work is not where they make sense to me. Cars are for vacation...not for everyday life. Like Grant, I probably wouldn't miss them if they went away--but I shop locally, ride everywhere, and now that my husband isn't racing professionally, we aren't driving to bike races at "oh-dark-thirty" anymore.

    Would be interesting to see what comes of your project. Not sure if this list is the right place for the results, but I would be interested in seeing what happens with it.

    I lived most of my life car free---but even with a car, no matter where I lived (Minnesota, Massachussets, California or now Nevada), I haven't needed a car for everyday life. Mostly for bike racing....

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