The Obesity of North American Transportation
We all use cars. Many of us own cars, in some cases more than one. But private automobiles, as with many technological advances, are a bit of Faustian deal, defined in the dictionary as “a bargain made or done for present gain without regard for future cost or consequences”.
For the last century cars have been marketed to us as wonderful devices that will bring us happiness, comfort, sex, freedom, efficiency – you name it. Whole economies and much personal wealth have been built around cars. The best minds in advertisements have used every possible approach they could think of to sell us on cars. And for a long time it has worked, and to a large degree it still does.
But, of course, there is a cost to the car –a very serious one. A disturbing result of using a car too often is obesity. Every day I cycle to work noticing that just about every car I pass has a single occupant driving to work, yet the cars were all built for five passengers or more. Each of those cars has an engine built for much more effort than to drive one individual at a maximum speed of 60 km (or 40 miles) an hour (speed limits in most cities). And then it hit me, our North American transportation system is itself obese. Like human obesity, it is slowly killing us. Thus, the Faustian bargain.
So here in the office, we thought that we could represent this cost in an infographic, one with a bit of humour, in the hope that this will add to the critical mass that is building to change this model of transportation; a model which has spread around the world. One that has not been the most efficient nor the best for the planet nor for the health of the people who own cars.
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