Saturday, April 09, 2011
3. Alternatives to Driving
Livable communities with better transportation choices including transit and opportunities for bicycling and walking reduce the need to drive.
Los Angeles' Measure R and "30/10" – now "America Fast Forward" – will expand our transit network, including the Wilshire subway to Westwood (above).
Grid-connected electric transit – streetcars, light and heavy rail, and electric trolleybuses are quiet, energy-efficient, and proven. As Gilbert and Perl note, "Electricity is the ideal transport fuel for an uncertain future. Unlike other alternative energy transition paths for transport, only electric mobility can move people and goods using a wide range of energy sources."
New battery electric buses being tested on Foothill Transit may provide a good alternative to diesel and natural gas powered transit buses (Proterra photo; also MetroRiderLA). See George Karbowski's SCAQMD presentation (3 MB PDF) for technical details.
"Complete Streets" make communities more livable with inviting places to walk and bike, instead of driving (Charles Gandy, City of Long Beach image).
Urban parks importantly balance higher-density residential.
Ridesharing (via smart-phone apps) may be the fastest adjustment for an oil shock.
Intercity high speed rail will replace oil used by long-distance driving and intrastate plane flights (CHSRA image).
Moving freight to rail is much more efficient than trucks, and railroads can be electrified to become entirely oil-free.
NEXT: 4. Electric Vehicles BACK: 2. Global Warming