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Car sales are declining globally and the real “peak car” moment (when the number of vehicles in operation stops increasing and starts a permanent decline) could also be near. This is a crucial opportunity for the movement for climate sanity and livable cities. And it’s bad news for the rogue corporations betting everything on increased oil consumption. Peak car has been reached in some cities, but the global picture is less clear.

The Telegraph, a U.K. newspaper, recently reported, “Car sales in China are set to slump for a third year running, indicating that the industry may already have hit ‘peak car’ in an alarming development for motor manufacturers.” Business Insider notes that wealthy countries are saturated with cars and automobile sales in both India and China dropped sharply in 2018 and 2019. These dips could become permanent declines, first in sales and then in the number of vehicles in operation, if cities around the world prioritize clean air and climate action. (Or national and city governments could work together to boost auto sales and the number of cars by pouring hundreds of billions of dollars into expanded roads and parking structures.)

A rapid transition to electric vehicles and renewable electricity is essential to bring greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions down, but the number of cars needs to shrink to make the rapid transition to electric cars practical and just.

Electric cars, and renewable power to run them, are a crucial and effective climate action step. However, we simply cannot electrify over 1.3 billion cars fast enough. GHG pollution must be reduced by over 7% a year from now until 2030 to avoid disastrous consequences, according to the latest UN climate report.

With the “demand for batteries soaring” already, Amnesty International is also ringing the alarm bells about the human rights and environmental impact of mining rare minerals for batteries.

Disturbingly, the United Nations climate agency tasked with helping countries develop “effective and appropriate responses to climate change” (UNFCCC) does not seem to be putting much effort into tracking the population of cars in operation, despite warning that GHG “emissions from the transport sector have more than doubled since 1970, and have increased at a faster rate than any other energy enduse sector.” UNFCCC puts the number of passenger vehicles at about 1 billion. The last publicly available estimate from the auto industry, Wards Intelligence, is 1.32 billion vehicles in 2016, before sales really started to slump. The UNFCCC has the mandate to track the number of vehicles in operation and their climate impact, but isn’t providing the world with the information needed to understand what direction we are going.

The climate footprint of automobile dependency

Electric car and battery manufacturing is still mainly powered with climate disrupting fossil fuels. And the concrete and steel used to build parking structures and urban highways has a massive greenhouse gas footprint. As George Monbiot recently wrote, “Transport, mostly because of our obsession with the private car, is now the major factor driving us towards climate breakdown.”

The infrastructure used to convince people to buy cars, like this parkade in Victoria BC, has a massive greenhouse gas footprint – photo Michal Klajban Wikimedia

Vast quantities of natural resources are consumed and enormous amounts of greenhouse gases are emitted in order to manufacture vehicles that sit idle 95 per cent of the time, often in precious public space or very expensive parking garages. Good analysis of the GHG footprint of transportation is rare, but a 2006 Hydro Quebec study found that transportation accounts for about one third of Canadian emissions if only tailpipe emissions are counted, but about half if lifecycle emissions including road building and the extraction and refining of fuel are counted. This study, Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Transportation Options, did not include the GHG emissions from building parking facilities.

A rapid transition to electric vehicles and renewable electricity is essential to bring greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions down, but the number of cars needs to shrink to make the rapid transition to electric cars practical and just.

The number of vehicles in operation on our planet almost doubled in the twenty years from 1996 to 2016, and if that rapid increase were to continue (as UNFCCC seems to expect) the climate impact would be catastrophic.

Need for fewer cars becoming obvious

The dominant approach to climate action in transportation has been to deny the need to actually reduce travel by private automobile, while giving lip service to the idea of modest shifts to public transit, walking and cycling (to limit increases in traffic). The success and popularity of policies that have reduced car ownership and use in some cities have often been downplayed as interesting anomalies, unlikely to be adopted outside the centers of a few older cities. But now attitudes are shifting.

More and more agencies are admitting the obvious. For example, a 2018 California Air Resources Board climate report found California needs to reduce per capita car travel by 25 per cent over 11 years to meet their (inadequate) climate targets, even with a 10-fold increase in electric car sales. Then, in the spring of 2019, the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council (EASAC) urged the European Union to stop assuming increased automobile use is inevitable and act to “discourage use of passenger cars in urban areas.”

In December, the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) International Transport Forum hosted the Zero Car Growth? Roundtable. Professor Phil Goodwin, who advised the UK Labour Party under both Tony Blair and Jermy Corbyn, asserted that given the climate emergency “even on most optimistic assumptions about transition to electric vehicles, there needs to be overall reductions of traffic” on the order of 5 or 6 per cent per year.

Goodwin also asserted that reducing traffic volumes and car ownership is easier than peak car stabilization given that the road space re-allocation needed for transit lanes, protected bicycle lanes and pleasant pedestrian spaces.

Tipping points

We don’t know enough about social tipping points to know with any certainty how to trigger big positive changes. As David Roberts writes in Vox, tipping points can be “strived toward, but they cannot be planned, scheduled, or relied on.”

However, my educated guess based on the experiences of individual cities, and the spread of ideas between cities globally, is that striving to trigger the a sharp turn towards fewer cars a good use of time and energy. The idea of a tipping point is that a fairly small intervention at the right time and place can lead to large and difficult to reverse changes in society. And the successful and popular efforts to control the population of cars in some cities suggest that triggering a massive shift may be easier than many expect.

Roberts asserts that the probabilities for avoiding the catastrophic collapse of human society due to global heating are not great, but what rational hope still exists “lies in the fact that social change is often nonlinear” and sometimes shockingly quick.

Disappearing Traffic, Disappearing Cars

Car traffic quickly expands to fill expanded road space in urban areas. As Joe Cortright reports in City Observatory, in 2019 California officially recognized “that adding road capacity in urban areas leads to more miles of travel and greater greenhouse gas emissions.” And it’s also well understood that traffic contracts just as quickly when road space is no longer available. When you make a car lane into a bus lane, a protected bike lane or more space for pedestrians, people drive less, traffic disappears. And traffic speeds don’t usually change much.

The 2004 European Commission report Reclaiming city streets for people notes that “it is typically assumed that reducing the capacity available for cars will result in increased traffic congestion in the surrounding streets. However... the experience in a number of European cities is that... some of the traffic that was previously found in the vicinity of the scheme disappears’ or ‘evaporates’.”

Cities, much more than national governments, are leading efforts to reduce the number of cars, and the resulting greenhouse gas pollution by reallocating space away from the private automobile. A recent Fast Company article lists eight examples: Cairo, Oslo, Buenos Aires, London, Seoul, Madrid, Beijing and Chennai, India. One spectacular example is Amsterdam’s popular plan to find better uses for 10,000 parking spaces.

Streetfilms better uses for 10,000 parking spaces

Paris is a particularly inspiring example. Car ownership has plunged from 60 percent of households in 2001, to 35 percent in 2019. The present mayor, Anne Hidalgo, turned a national highway into a world renowned linear park along the river, over the objections of the national government. Her administration is also working to convert the Boulevard Périphérique, the congested innermost highway around the centre of Paris, into an actual urban boulevard with fewer car lanes, a bus lane, and a 50 km/h speed limit. Hidalgo’s re-election platform includes removing about 72% of on-street parking spaces (about 10% of total parking spaces) in the city to make room for protected bike lanes, bus lanes, trees and public spaces.

Increasingly, city governments are looking to their global peers for inspiration and expertise rather than being constrained by national borders. The financial and material investment needed to create bus lanes, protected bike lanes, or pedestrian dominated streets is so small it is often done temporarily to test concepts. A progressive city council can do a lot in four years, even in the face of hostility from higher levels of government.

The City of Vancouver’s Climate Emergency Response plan aims to make a lot of traffic disappear very quickly. The plan aims for an “allocation of public space [that] supports walking, cycling and transit [to] greatly reduce dependence on fossil fuels through a reduction in vehicle ownership and kilometres travelled by vehicle.” The goal is for two-thirds of trips in Vancouver to be by active transportation and transit by 2030, up from about half now.

Increasing death rate for cars would kill fossil fuel investment

Rapidly reducing the population of cars gets easier as demand for brand-new cars declines, since many of the vehicles in operation are worth almost nothing on the resale market and cost a lot to maintain. For example, in the United States the average age of a car is now over 12 years old. A vehicle built 17 years ago, when Greta Thunberg was born, can often be bought by a government “scrap-it” program for less than the cost of an electric bicycle. By such means, the “death rate” for cars can be increased as the “birth rate” is decreased.

Rather than owning cars, many younger people are already choosing public transit, cycling and walking for routine trips. Car share services like the Modo car co-op allow city dwellers to access cars and trucks when needed.

The importance of peak car goes upstream, well beyond the direct climate and social benefits. Investors in fossil fuels are betting on an increasing population of private automobiles to keep oil consumption growing for a few more years. If it becomes apparent that the peak auto is past, and the population of cars is declining, there will be a sudden rush to the exits. High-cost fossil fuel projects around the world will be quickly abandoned. Investors’ fear of peak car, and resulting lower oil prices, may have already been a decisive factor in the recent cancellation of Teck’s proposed Frontier oil sands mine in Alberta.

Environmental Groups following cities

Some established environmental organizations have only recently woken up to the potential of peak car. For example, Greenpeace International’s website includes the excellent 2019 blog post “We don’t just need electric cars, we need fewer cars.” The related Greenpeace International report Freedom to Breath: Rethinking Urban Transport advocates for “prioritizing public space for use by people and public services [and] re-allocating existing space away from cars.” However, Greenpeace in Canada and the USA still have nothing equivalent about re-allocating space on their websites. Some environmental groups don’t even mention opposing urban highway expansion in their climate action materials.

Greenpeace International’s report Freedom to Breath: Rethinking Urban Transport calls for re-allocating road space away from cars.

Transportation is the first and second largest source of greenhouse gas pollution in the U.S.A. and Canada respectively​​​​​​​​​​​​. It is time for organizations that care about the climate emergency in North America to join the push for fewer cars and more livable cities.

But perhaps more important than mainstream advocacy groups is the rapidly growing non-violent direct action network Extinction Rebellion, which has targeted urban highways and airport expansion projects. The prospect of thousands of citizens prepared to risk arrest to stop planet-cooking highway projects should make politicians think twice when choosing between transit improvements and highway expansion.

Federal and Provincial governments ignoring commitments

Transportation-related greenhouse emissions increased in Canada by 43 per cent between 1990 and 2017, and a major factor was government spending on road and highway expansion in and near urban areas.

The 2016 Pan Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change (the federal-provincial climate agreement) already commits the federal and provincial governments to shift spending away from urban highways and airport expansion, which increase emissions, to low-carbon transportation including public transit, walking and cycling. But, so far, federal and provincial governments are largely ignoring this commitment, which is not surprising given that North American environmental groups are just waking up to the issue. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's upcoming budget will most likely continue the pattern of spending billions on urban highways while ignoring their climate agreement with the provinces.

Green New Deal must ensure auto worker not left behind

Spending public funds on urban highway expansion makes peoples’ lives less satisfying and shorter. Long commutes driving alone leads to lack of exercise, exposure to high levels of air pollution and social isolation. Fewer cars will make room for more pleasure in our cities.

But we cannot forget that the transition to less car-intensive cities could leave some workers in the lurch. The Green New Deals must ensure no auto industry workers or community is left behind, as with fossil fuel industry workers. All Green New Deal proposals must aim for fewer cars and more livable cities, and ensure that small towns and rural areas have quality public transportation service.

Ever increasing numbers of cars, along with an ever increasing number of parking garages and ever wider urban freeways, is a dead end for humanity. The choice is between cities of delightful neighbourhoods with far fewer cars, and the collapse of human society with all the suffering and misery that implies.

If you want a brighter future with far fewer cars, there are two obvious places to start. The first is to pressure environmental groups, particularly any you support financially, to join Greenpeace International in calling for “re-allocating existing space away from cars.” The second is to push your city council to emulate leading cities like Paris, Amsterdam and Vancouver.

On the other hand, joining Extinction Rebellion and blocking an urban highway expansion project might be even more effective in pushing society past the peak car tipping point.

Cars, and particularly small, economy cars are being discontinued while "trucks" are still booming. Even the PT cruiser was officially a truck to avoid regulations on cars.

This is an important opinion piece in support of better urbanism and energy use. Kudos!

One could certainly agree that fewer cars on the road is a big solution that helps resolve our massive emissions profile. However, the transition to fewer cars, and to electrifying what’s left, hasn’t been presented in the form of a realistic Transition Plan anywhere on the North American continent, to my knowledge.

Vancouver cannot be compared straight across the board with Paris, Amsterdam, London or other European cities that we greatly admire mainly because they predate the automobile by centuries. Even the most egregiously laned-up Haussmann boulevard —the Champs Elysees, not unlike the vast Lougheed Highway near Coquitlam Centre in Metro Vancouver (albeit with superior street tree planting) — did not obliterate the vast network of tight human-scale streets filled with life, like those found in the Latin Quarter and Montmartre. Here we have suburban cul-de-sacs. This is to say that a lot of low-density sprawl needs a complete rebuild on our side of the pond, if for nothing else than to repurpose the phenomenal amount of precious urban land overlain with low land use value asphalt and uni-zoned single-family residential and malls subsumed by asphalt parking lots.

Our denser urban cores are relatively small by comparison, but do support decent transit ridership and non-vehicular commuting. Vancouver has already achieved a transit-walking-bicycle mode share of over 50% (Toronto city is about 60%) and could entertain some full road closures in favour of pedestrians. Metro Vancouver is less than half that on average.

Then there is intercity commuting. Europe has an exemplary and very diverse rail network ranging from high-speed bullet trains through fast regional commuter rail lines, the majority electrified. Vancouver Island has a single highway with no alternative, and Metro Vancouver has a single commuter rail service that goes only about half the distance it needs to and misses great chunks of the urbanized Metro and Fraser Valley. Roads and fossil fuels rule even when the majority of people profess “concern” about climate change.

Yet the regional transition is already partly-complete on Vancouver Island with the presence of the 245-kilometre, 136-year old Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway corridor, an asset with a highly convenient sunk cost that connects all of the larger Island cities together. It is currently sitting derelict. Calls to upgrade the corridor to a decent Island commuter rail service are regularly ignored by governments and rebuffed in the media in favour of disbanding the non-profit Island Corridor Foundation and foolishly selling off the land.

Many Islanders, surprisingly including a Victoria-based transportation planner with a progressive international reputation I once encountered through a series of illuminating emails, take a rather parochial view of the corridor as an it-would-be-nice-if project, but we mustn’t let “rail enthusiasts” wielding “grandiose visions” affect our quiet life for the foreseeable future. They often use the under-million population level as justification, all the while ignoring the bloated elephant on the Island known as car dependent infrastructure.

Meanwhile, the floating traffic jam known as a BC Ferries vessel, which gorges on 1,500 cars per 8-hour shift and is the central mode of transport to / from the mainland, clogs the roads with traffic for kilometres around the main terminals like clockwork every two hours. The quiet Island life is increasingly punctured by suburban commuters stuck in crawling traffic and commercial trucking on the Island highway replete with the onslaught of the construction of several $90 million highway overpasses. And to think that a modern commuter rail service on the existing ENR corridor would be energized with 6+ million foot passengers a year if a relatively easy connection to the ferry terminals could only be made by trains, ideally synced with the ferry schedules.

Moreover, a modern commuter intercity rail corridor connected to decent transit in the towns and married to land use that places more population, jobs, institutions and growth closer to transit stations and bus routes, ideally with today’s informed urban design initiatives emphasizing public gathering places (town squares, pedestrian streets …) and quality architecture would be the holistic ideal and guideline to strive for.

In my view, the incremental building of a vast Island highway and suburban road network and car-centric ferry system over the last 60 years, probably now worth in the neighbourhood of $100 billion for a population of less than a million, is far more grandiose in every respect than anything imaginable with a rail corridor moving both passengers and freight, notably in pollution, energy, transport and urban efficacy, and multiple layers of taxpayer financing.

When citing electric cars as an alternative to oil dependent land transportation, even in diminished numbers, one must also address the required increase in electricity generation and, as alluded to in the post, batteries. New liquid metal battery (LMB) technology to be released through MIT in the next year or two is a game changer. They are cheap, use common local materials, are highly efficient over long periods of time, and are scalable to high industrial and district-level consumption. Their utility is in storing huge amounts of stable base load on-demand power from renewables that are subject to intermittency. Using LMBs at city scales will save on lithium, cobalt and other rare metals, which could be redirected into land transportation, primarily electric vehicles, and small-scale electricity storage units.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImqmMOkANgg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avD8nsbNngM

BC has had a contentious relationship with Alberta over tar sands bitumen. The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project was a catalyst for heated rhetoric, threats and condescension to be flung at BC, supposedly in the name of confederation and “national” interest. It also highlighted BC’s egregious 65-year dependency on Alberta oil in its own domestic economy.

Considering BC’s inconceivably vast renewable energy potential (geothermal, wind, solar, tidal) and the generation and storage technology coming on stream, it may be possible to electrify the domestic economy quicker than has ever been imagined so far. Indeed, EVs, electricity-based transit (regional and local), efficacious town planning and a speeded up energy conservation-based building codes throughout BC could help accelerate the decline of fossil fuels in all its forms west of the Great Divide.

Though concrete is today an energy and emissions beast, it doesn’t have to be so. It remains a vital material, even for the foundations of net plus clean energy buildings, windmill foundations, commuter rail bridges and so forth. Using concrete’s large emission footprint to knock parkades (or in one particularly misguided case for subway tunnel liners for a transit asset that will be net zero emissions for 2/3rds of its 100-year lifespan) can be counterproductive, because it implies that concrete is replaceable. It is not.

The largest emissions in the energy profile of concrete comes from the making of Portland cement, usually by burning stuff to create heat in a kiln. Many cement plants burn natural gas, some even burn old tires and garbage. Metro Vancouver’s branch of Lafarge has successfully bid on burning 7,000 tonnes of solid waste from the Capitol Regional District’s soon completed sewage treatment plant.*

The Portland cement in concrete can be displaced in part with industrial waste products (e.g. fly ash), as much as 35%. This translates into a proportional decrease in the emissions profile. Likewise, the aggregates in the concrete mix can also be partially displaced with industrial waste products, such as the glass-like slag from the Trail BC smelter. I worked with exactly this formulation in a project in 2003-04 and the materials engineer won an award. He calculated that the concrete was 65% harder than an otherwise standard mix.

Moreover, concrete can be recycled by crushing it for local use as an aggregate road base, and in some cases placed back into a fresh concrete mix.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNNPLQkqipE

Ideally, zero emission renewable energy could be directed to electric induction kilns to make Portland cement, which can then be shipped locally to concrete plants that also use the above recycling options. Further, waste carbon gas can be injected into the concrete mix where it will be locked in forever and actually chemically strengthen the finished concrete product.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGR2BNbeaBs

* [This demonstrates an unforgivable lack of research by CRD staff on the handling of waste. Metro Vancouver uses its dried solid waste from sewage, known as Nutrifor, as a soil amendment for highway landscapes and for forestry. The CRD could instead use its dried waste to help replenish the soil of its vast, logged over forest lands. There is little attention paid to the importance of soil in the forestry industry. A Nutrifor product could be pelletized with seeds from pioneer, nutrient-fixing plants like alder and clover, bulked up with sawdust and held together with an easy-to-breakdown tackifier like corn starch, then blown onto bare logging sites with a hydroseeder unit before replanting.]

"Using concrete’s large emission footprint to knock parkades" does not in any way imply that "concrete is replaceable." What I am suggesting is that we have to account for the GHG footprint of every major decision we make, including how much concrete and steel we use in our transportation infrastructure (yes, this must include transit infrastructure). The timeline for cutting GHG pollution in half is 10 years (or less), and we need to get the trajectory trending down NOW. The whole 'what about the emissions over 150 years' argument does not match the science.

The math requires joined up thinking. For example, soil is routinely ignored as a carbon sink in the focus on emissions from transportation and fossil energy. Conservation tillage in agriculture alone has been grossly underestimated in its ability to remove carbon from the atmosphere. USask professor Lana Awanda documented the recent changes from the old plowing and churning tillage practices to zero-till on Canadian Prairie farms and discovered that grain farmers there are now storing more carbon than they emit. It worked out so far to 16 million tonnes a year, the equivalent of the emissions from 3.47 million cars, and that is bound to increase as more farmers all over the country discover the advantages of no-till. The emissions savings on the Prairies is the equivalent of removing all the cars on the road in two Metro Vancouvers. Farmers are also using less fuel and fertilizer and their machinery lasts longer under conservation tillage. And they are obtaining higher yields and making a better living. Win-win.

According to Stats Canada, the average Canadian vehicle burns 2,000 L of gasoline every year and releases about 4,600 kg of CO2 into the atmosphere. I suggest the math works in favour of decreasing emissions by orders-of-magnitude by building more transit and marrying that to walkable multi-use communities, even with concrete used in rail transit and building foundations. Considering there were 436 million non-private vehicle boardings on the Metro’s transit system, and that there has been terrific year-over-year growth in demand that justifies the big expenditures, the emissions savings are absolutely huge. Reducing the emissions from concrete is important and that can be accomplished quickly without eliminating it in a big way. But farming and transit are a little higher on the scale of priorities should we see a genuine National Transition Plan that actually does the math.

"... there were 436 million non-private vehicle boardings on the Metro’s transit system in 2018 (that number is a lot higher today), ..."

Here are the conclusions from the study by Awada on Saskatchewan grain farming:

- Adoption of sustainable farming practices increased carbon sequestration and reduced net GHG emissions

- Carbon sequestration increased from 0.26 in 1985, to 5.3 in 2005, and to 9Mt CO2-eq in 2016

- Decrease in net GHG emissions: which went from 5Mt CO2-eq in 1985, to 0.9 in 2005, and to 0.1Mt CO2-eq in 2016 This decrease exceeds, by multifold, Canada’s commitment toward COP21 to cut GHG emissions by 30% below 2005 emissions by 2030.

- The great efforts by the SK farmers since the 1985 should be recognized and compensated, as a large amount of carbon was mitigated before 2005.

- The results of this study provide evidence that might support the design of policies that encourage the adoption of sustainable practices to mitigate GHG emissions in agriculture

Source: Measuring Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the Saskatchewan Crop Sector, Lana Awada APAS, 2019

Canadian emissions by sector (from a report by Environment and Climate Change Canada, 2019):

47% - Energy, stationary combustion (oil sands, coal + gas-fired power …)

28% - Energy, transportation

8% - Agriculture

7.8% - Fugitive sources (methane …)

7.5% - Industrial processes (cement …)

Considering that the fossil fuel production and fossil-electricty generation comprise nearly half of all emissions, and that all fossil fuels comprise just 8% of the national GDP, it makes ultimate sense to focus on replacing fossil fuel demand in the Canadian economy with clean electricity, and participate at a greater level with international efforts to lower all emissions. That would of course extend to land transportation. The key with the remediation of agricultural practices is that no-till doesn’t just eliminate CO2, but it actually sequesters a lot more for a net negative emissions result.

Emissions from concrete making and all other industrial processes are a small fraction of the total emissions profile and needn’t be a central focus of any transportation planning exercise, but some research could be done to patent production processes that use renewable power instead of combustion.

This piece ties in with the 2005 peak of cheap oil production and the increasing mix of expensive unconventional oil in the world oil supply. Today’s lower world prices and associated recession in Alberta resulted from the overproduction of US shale oil and concurrent high tar sands output, with Saudi Arabia keeping its spigot wide open, therein generating a global glut. This is hard for an industry that requires higher prices to break even on the high cost of production, and that also receives a crappy energy return on the energy invested to get the oil to market. Canadian geoscientist David Hughes ran the numbers and found that the highly indebted US shale production has peaked in two of the five formations (Bakken and Eagle Ford); the sweet spots are tapped out. Shale everywhere (including BC) is subject to sudden and steep declines, which on a world scale may result in higher prices, then a tapering off in demand. All is not rosy for petroleum futures.

Doherty’s piece also dovetails with the recent work of Peter Newman and Jeff Kenworthy that documents the peak in car use, relative to the surge in high-capacity metro transit network construction in Asia and Europe.

Synopsis from Amazon on “The End of Automobile Dependence”, Newman and Kenworthy (2015):

“Cities will continue to accommodate the automobile, but when cities are built around them, the quality of human and natural life declines. Current trends show great promise for future urban mobility systems that enable freedom and connection, but not dependence. We are experiencing the phenomenon of peak car use in many global cities at the same time that urban rail is thriving, central cities are revitalizing, and suburban sprawl is reversing. Walking and cycling are growing in many cities, along with ubiquitous bike sharing schemes, which have contributed to new investment and vitality in central cities including Melbourne, Seattle, Chicago, and New York.
 
“We are thus in a new era that has come much faster than global transportation experts Peter Newman and Jeffrey Kenworthy had predicted: the end of automobile dependence. In The End of Automobile Dependence, Newman and Kenworthy look at how we can accelerate a planning approach to designing urban environments that can function reliably and conveniently on alternative modes, with a refined and more civilized automobile playing a very much reduced and manageable role in urban transportation. The authors examine the rise and fall of automobile dependence using updated data on 44 global cities to better understand how to facilitate and guide cities to the most productive and sustainable outcomes.
 
“This is the final volume in a trilogy by Newman and Kenworthy on automobile dependence (Cities and Automobile Dependence in 1989 and Sustainability and Cities: Overcoming Automobile Dependence in 1999). Like all good trilogies this one shows the rise of an empire, in this case that of the automobile, the peak of its power, and the decline of that empire.”

Well, I certainly didn't think that people would stop driving (and flying) so dramatically that the price of oil would go negative. Interesting to see what is being proposed as the 'solution' to this 'problem'.

“People with physical oil find they have no place to put it…That problem is large, and it’s not going away until we start driving our cars again.” https://www.nationalobserver.com/2020/04/21/news/canadas-deficit-likely-...