New short piece: “Fostering Micromobility: Changing A System That Compels Americans To Drive”

Something short I wrote just went up at CoMotion Mobility Perspectives. A taste:

Fostering Micromobility: Changing A System That Compels Americans To Drive

Law and Demand for Change Beyond the Pandemic

For a variety of reasons, car ownership no longer enjoys the unchallenged cultural position it once held. People want options in how they get around. Transit, scooters and bikes are all great technologies, but it’s often difficult to use them safely and reliably.

Prior to the pandemic, this was predominantly due to the fact that our streets were choked with cars. COVID-19 has changed this paradigm, however, demonstrating the clear benefits that occur when we open up streets to people. Some cities are already doing a noteworthy job of reallocating the public right of way. Oakland, for example, intends to close more than 70 miles of streets to cars in order to give people more room to walk or bike during the lockdown. Other cities aren’t quite as forward thinking. As it has in many domains of policy, the pandemic has administered an x-ray to transportation governance, and the results aren’t always pretty.

It is a choice, not a law of nature, that the bulk of the public right of way is allocated to cars. Tradeoffs among various road uses have been reevaluated in the past, and should be examined again.

Full piece.

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