“Drive til you qualify”
99% Invisible has an interesting segment up with Lisa Margonelli about the apparent lack of conscious design behind how sprawl, traffic engineering, and gasoline consumption interact. Although the audio portion is disappointingly short(and a bit difficult to follow with the ambient music in the background), the overall message is one that warrants consideration.
It’s interesting to think about the connection between mortgages helping to encourage sprawl(unconsciously, at least) because individuals would look further and further away from the city(see title) for low-interest loans and greater sq. footage, or that gas pumps are designed to look more like ATMs to make the experience of purchasing gas a bit more palatable. How cars are designed to be most efficient at 55mph, but most travel typically occurs in the 30s on local roads with constant stopping, or in the 70s. The amount of waste that goes into moving people is staggering to think about.
99% also makes note of a talk(included below) that Margonelli gave at the TEDxOilSpill forum this past June. A lot of it has to do with how to change U.S oil demand over time, why there’s such a need to, and the difficulty and safety hazards of controlling and cleaning up after an oil spill.
Margonelli makes note of an initiative featured on the New America Foundation’s website called STRONG (Secure Transportation Reducing Oil Needs Gradually), which deals with gradually raising the gas tax,incorporating externalities of oil (health costs, environmental degradation), and generally shifting demand away from individual gasoline consumption and towards more sustainable transit choices.