Free transportation for life! What would you do for a free tram pass? Some cities are trying to reduce traffic for a better quality of life. Why should you care? Is there traffic congestion in your city? Is parking a problem? Would you like a better alternative?
Free Tram Passes
A city in Spain is offering lifetime passes on the brand-new tram system to their citizens in exchange for turning over their cars. The only requirements are the car must be in working order and debt free. Is this enough to stop you from driving? Would you give up that beat up old car and ride the tram?
Public transportation is much more a way of life in Europe than in the United States because of the cost of owning a car and fuel. Roads and cities are older in Europe when there were no cars. Although there are fewer cars, there is still congestion. Cities are looking for ways to improve their cities traffic congestion and encourage alternatives to driving. Recently, I wrote an article called “Real-time Ridesharing Is Here” where making ridesharing convenient may motivate drivers to change.
Both programs try to change people’s behavior to have a better outcome. Do you want your government spending tax dollars to encourage change to improve society? One of the purposes of government is to provide infrastructure so its citizens can satisfy their needs within a city. This would include needs such as education, business, health facilities and social activities. There are towns and cities built around the concept of walking to everything. How do you feel about that?
Should your urban planning department of your city include changes that would benefit everyone? In Los Angeles, traffic on the freeways occurs outside normal rush hour partly because most of the residents need to travel so far. Change zoning to include commercial, business and residents in all areas of the city. Similar to many older cities have neighborhoods and less dependence on a specific downtown area.
New cities such as Irvine, California were built with exactly that in mind. In fact much of Orange county, California started out that way too. Unfortunately, traffic congestion on the freeways occurs there too. City governments derive a great deal of their fees and taxes from development. Therefore, we have a conflict of interest between growth and good urban planning. Since it is very difficult to continuously build freeways, public transportation is a good alternative.
What will our cities look like in the future? Some cities around the world are crowded, and poor! Recently, I heard on the news that more people are leaving our rural areas to move to the city. If we do not plan our cities better, we will face the same problems that occur elsewhere in the world. In the early 1960s, Alweg Monorail Company offered to build and finance a monorail system to connect the San Fernando Valley and San Bernardino corridor to downtown Los Angeles. Although there was enthusiasm for the project, it failed! Instead, people in Los Angeles are paying billions to have a small portion of what was proposed for millions.
If you do nothing, will our government just do the right thing? Maybe the message here is to get involved in your government! Why stop there? Start with your neighborhood, school, and local government. Leaving decisions to someone else leave you with the results. Too many of us avoid the whole dilemma by moving or avoiding the problem. Where do you stand? Do you just complain or look for solutions? Do you adapt and change to improve your own life and help your community? Free transportation for life!
Photo by: Simon Lieschke