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Why cars?

When I write about alternative transportation, I still write mostly about cars. It is a wonder my editor let me get away with it.

I like trains. I have fond memories of the passenger train from Minneapolis to Western North Dakota. I rode my bicycle as a primary means of summer transportation in small towns, traveled on foot during the winters. I worked on horseback as a teenager, pushing cattle and sheep. I have been a regular bus rider in Dayton and Minneapolis.

I know of other ways to get around. Perhaps many of us could rely more heavily on rail and bus - the high-speed passenger rail service connecting major cities of Ohio will certainly be welcome when it gets finished - but we will still need cars.

Really, all you have to do is look at the map to see why. Towns were built on rivers, rail lines, stage coach roads, state roads, and national roads. The roads from one to another are dotted with smaller roads to get to the farms in between. The fastest route between two points is often in a car.

Since Christmas, I have tried writing, and the subject always turns to cars, as alternative transportation. I come back to the keyboard with an understanding that the greatest alternative in transportation is attitude. View transportation as transportation.

An automobile is not an Avatar for drivers, not a means of expression, or a weapon, or a toy, or an office. They are not clothes, although we certainly spend a lot of attention on appearance. A car is to get from here to there.

Automobiles, cars, are neither good nor bad, what makes all the difference in the world, what will change the market, the industry, the policies of this country, are attitudes, yours and mine.


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