Thursday, July 29, 2010

Traffic as a Public Health Concern

Check out this short piece from the Streetsblog network:

Why Isn't Traffic Reduction a Top Public Health Concern

As anyone who has ever been in a car accident can attest to: driving is dangerous. In addition, cars spew all sorts of particulate matter into the air (y'know that stuff that we breathe to stay alive). It doesn't take a scientist to bike or walk down the street and realize that the exhaust coming out of most cars' tailpipes is not the healthiest mixture. If you get caught behind a big enough/poorly maintained vehicle, your gasping for breath will be all the evidence you need.

So why do we take traffic for granted and just assume that it is a constant that we need to live with? Why is it so hard to imagine urban and suburban places with severely decreased automobile and truck traffic?


  1. I see your point, but I, for one, need a car to get to work. I hate working 40 miles away from my house, but it's all I got right now.

  2. If you could take a train or bus to work would you?

    The transportation choices we make as individuals are often informed by macro-decisions of where funding should go and what areas should be connected by transit.

    Here's the "official" history of BART ( It gives a couple explanations for Marin's exclusion from the BART system.

    Ultimately if the infrastructure is built for cars, and we need to go somewhere, we take a car. If it is built for other things [train, bus, bike, subway, boat, feet] we would use those things.

  3. If the infrastructure was right and the train/bus came fairly regularly, I'd much prefer reading a book/people watching/listening to my ipod over sitting in traffic and looking for parking which are the highest stress inducers for me personally.