Auto Rickshaw Could Be Solution to Transportation Challenges of Decaying Cities
Posted Sep 29 2008 4:11pm
Newer does not always mean better. As a movie buff, I know this to be true.
Still, there are other areas in which humanity’s progress truly improves upon
the ways in which we used to do things. As regards personal transportation,
especially in large cities, the first decade of the new millennium has produced
mixed results. On the one hand, we have the Prius and Segway, both evolutionary
leaps in the right direction. On the other hand, we’ve had the pervasion of
sport utility vehicles (SUVs) on every continent.
As we seek to move ever more people and merchandise, we must find ways which
consistently are better. No doubt you know by now that the Interstate Traveler is a great solution and I am pleased to inform you that
it draws closer to breaking ground with each passing day. However, it cannot be
everything to everyone. So, in order to solve all of the world’s ills in the
realm of transportation, we need multiple solutions. Some, as above, will be
modern; others will be retro.
Given the depth of the problem of air pollution and its march toward suffocating
levels in most of our largest cities, urgency informs us that we should embrace
whatever works so long as we keep our eye on the ultimate prize of 100% clean
transportation. Luckily, by embracing assorted solutions in order to keep
progress moving, we can solve problems of congestion at the same time.
Vehicles which are powered through the burning of fossil fuels operate at their
dirtiest when idling and when first started. Congested roads cause thousands if
not hundreds of thousands of dirty engines to run at their dirtiest for many
hours a day every day. Naturally, this situation leads to smog and respiratory
ailments for the people unfortunate enough to live in congested cities.
Traffic gridlock also places a large strain on municipal infrastructure due to
fender benders and road surfaces which exceed their designed load factors. A
vicious circle begins because cities with clogged streets spend too much money
filling potholes and deploying traffic police and hence have inadequate funds to
invest in mass transit systems.
The auto rickshaw may be an old solution to a very modern problem, however. In
the second part of this thread, I will elaborate.