I know we need them, for now, but imagine if we didn't?


Credit to Treehugger http://goo.gl/SB2kR for the graphic below:

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I'm 42 years old, don't own a car, never had a license. I personally don't need a car. I do sometimes need the utility of a car, but I personally don't need the car nor need to drive it, e.g. sometimes I use a taxi, sometimes I pay for a courier, sometimes I catch long distance buses. 

Daily transportation needs, which is what most people believe they need a car for, are easily met by walking, cycling and public transport. And no I'm not single, I'm married and we have a son.

By not owning a car, and only paying for the use of a vehicle on an as needed basis, I don't have tens of thousands of dollars tied up in 2 tonnes of metal, that spends most of its time sitting idle. Additionally, when I go places, I gain the benefits of incidental exercise.

Not owning a car costs significantly less and increases my health, what a perfectly sensible approach!

Try living in regional Tasmania without a car ! But then, I am not contributing to the urban sprawl.

everyone has different circumstances.

I am 40 have a son have thousands of dollars invested in a couple of hunks of metal, but they very rarely sit idle.

I do a lot of driving for work - from a few hundred to maybe close to a thousand kms a week.

We have sports for our son five times a week.  Sometimes up to 40km from home.

We have a family holiday house several hundred kms away that we like to get to a few times a month.


Could I do this by walking or bike?  probably not.

Do I 'need' a car to do these things currently in my life.  Yes I would,of some description.

Courier and taxi fares would be more than my deductible car costs.

Is hugging a tree nice.....sure it is.

Does car use lead to increased run off and flash flooding? I guess it could.....but so does deforestation for farming.....so maybe we should stop eating.

We all know car use is bad for the environment.  Perhaps we need to go back to the horse and cart and remodel how society expects us to live and work.
No matter what mode of trasport we chose ultimately it is the number of people on the planet that will be our downfall.....not the evil car.

That is all a bit deep for me......


How deep would the manure be on South Rd?

Intense use of horses in an urban environment is a public health hazard.

Some people do need cars, some don't. I think the important points we can take from this issue is that if we can get some form of modal switch from those who can reduce their car use, it reduces the overall impact and allows those that need a car as part of their work etc. can continue to use one without increased congestion, costs etc.

I determined about five months ago that I could/should ride to work, and have done every day since. However, I/we still have two cars as I cannot always guarantee that one will suffice, two kids and all, admittedly one car has done less than 300km in those 5 months. I admire those such as Mark who don't have a car but also understand Matt and Pat as needing a car. In  a perfect world we would all live near work, food, entertainment etc but this is not possible or desirable for everyone. Developments such as the Bowden transit oriented development will offer such lifestyles to those who can live sans car as it will provide the majority of residents needs within walking distance and is in close proximity to public transport. 

"if we can get some form of modal switch from those who can reduce their car use, it reduces the overall impact and allows those that need a car......to use one without increased congestion, costs etc"

I agree completely. Obviously infrastructure is a an important part to increase the use of car alternatives, however I think the biggest hurdle is changing peoples' perceptions about the need for a car. There will always be people who need a car, such as work, or physical conditions that limit mobility, but many others could live without a car, or at least reduce the number of cars (my brother has a family of five and they own 4 cars). For example I often hear people say they need a car for the weekly shop, without considering the alternative of shopping more frequently instead. My favourite is when I'm asked what I would do in an emergency like needing to get to hospital. If it's truly an emergency, I'd call the emergency services.

For many people, an inability to envision alternatives, prevents them from finding solutions (this applies to many other aspects of our lives).

My family and I are in a similar position to Tim B. My partner needs a car for work, I ride to work. We have a second car that gets used about 20k a month, if that. Most of our shopping is done by bike, but larger shops we do by car.
When malls were developed they quickly became shopping hubs that caused the demise of local area shopping, in a time when it was cheap to run a car, and not many considered any alternatives. It has been in the public physche to hop in the car pretty much every time we leave the house. But I sense change in the air. More mums and dads ferrying their kids to school by bike, more bikes parked at Foodland.
There will 'always' be a need for cars. How many of us who use a bike a lot have decided they no longer need their car? Especially if they have a family? That would be interesting to know. Most of us are reducing our car use I suspect. And that's great.

The cost of owning a car is lower than the cost of living close to the city. Real estate prices prevent me from selling up my peaceful one acre in the hills and buying anything at all within the inner ring of suburbs. I'd also have to change my methods of generating income, as I would find it hard to do, somewhere in the city, what I currently do from home. I am able to drive a car on days when I'm ill, it's too hot or wet, I'm simply out of time or I have a larger purchase to get home. Yet I do much of my shopping on the internet and much is delivered to me and I can do some errands on the bike.

The balance of car use to bike use will change with time and suitable development of alternate transport systems.

silly thought but is buying stuff on the Internet still using a car?

you are just paying someone else to use their car to deliver it.

The parcel delivery man drives a small van packed with parcels. It uses far less fuel per parcel than my car would. As it is, I try very hard to do a group of errands on the same trip when I have to go somewhere by car.

Sure you could argue i don't 'need' my car but yes makes life so much easier its not a big valuable one and its set up for off roading which my avantis certainly cant't do. My weekly shop is also much more awkward by bike though have done it on occasions. That being said despite infrequent use (generally only weekends) it is well maintained and tuned unlike many other cars on the road


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