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I created this graph for the wikipedia article on  the Effects of the automobile on societies. (It's based on a similar graph in the book Transportation for Livable Cities By Vukan R. Vuchic, a great read for anyone interested in sustainable development.) The wikipedia article still needs a lot of work, but I wanted to share this graph with the people at dailykos.

People tend to choose a mode of transportation based on the out-of-pocket cost. The value above the line represents the out-of-pocket cost per trip for each mode of transportation, the value below the line accounts for subsidies, environmental impact, social and indirect costs.

This graph shows how our government policies about parking, public roads, and tolls make driving a more attractive option for many people in US cities. This is why changing planning policy, eliminating parking lot requirements, increasing the gas tax so that fully covers the costs of highway construction and the other social and environmental costs of driving is so important for creating sustainable, inter-modal transportation systems in our cities.

Notice that, in an urban area, the total cost of both bus and rail systems is lower than the total costs of using a car. But when people make the choice to drive each day they tend to think about the out-of-pocket costs of driving (gas) rather than considering the indirect costs of car ownership, auto insurance and car maintenance. People are even less aware of the fact that the gas tax, at its current level, is not high enough to cover all of the costs of road maintenance. The environmental and social impacts of driving (such as the impact it has on public heath, and the cost of policing the roadways, recovering stolen cars, and dealing with accidents) are even harder to see.

However, when there are tolls, and when municipal parking is priced at the market rate, rather than being under-priced or free, much of the subsidy vanishes. Under these conditions, public transportation is a competitive option when considering out-of-pocket costs.  This is the situation in many cities in Europe where people drive much less and transit is more diversified. This reduces pollution and, combined with incentives for fuel efficient vehicles, could go a long way to making our cites a little more efficient economically, safer, and more green.


This graph does not show intangible costs that are hard to quantify in monetary terms, such as convenience, time, lives lost in auto crashes, Injuries from auto crashes and the social impact of urban sprawl. The "social costs" in this graph are based only on  the impact of inefficiencies introduced through greater congestion. (That is a reduction in carrying capacity of roads.) One might argue that the disparity would be even greater if these additional factors were introduced.

Originally posted to futurebird on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 09:26 PM PDT.


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Comment Preferences

  •  There is shoddy public transport in NE (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'd love to use it, we do not invest, our bus service is pathetic.  All our money goes to roads, and they are quite nice here compared to other places.

    -7.3,-7.5 If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of your revolution.

    by Nebraska Outsider on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 09:28:22 PM PDT

    •  Yes, you need to start (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      A Siegel, futurebird
      by making public transportation viable and affordable, not by crushing average working people who are already hanging on by a thread. I drive because in Cleveland it's cheaper even considering maintenance, insurance and everything else and if I took public transportation, my costs would increase to swallow up my food budget. ALL of it. So increase driving costs radically and I don't eat anymore. In addition, although Cuyahoga County's RTA was laughable voted the top transit system in the country, it's erratic, inefficient, infrequent and costly. I would triple my commuting time each way, plus you can't really get around town on it, if your job involved, like mine does, jumping aorund here and there. The city spent tens of millinos of dollars on an unused "waterfront" train line which goes nowhere and is almost totally unused --  I always see the cars go by with two people in them. But they won't run buses to places where they would be used, like running a circulator from impoverished East Cleveland which has no full-service grocery in the entire devastated city filled with elderly and poor people without cars, up to Cleveland Heights to the groceries and pharmacies and shopping center there.  Even the mayor of Cleveland Heights couldn't persuade them.
      Meanwhile, the western 'burbs fight extending light rail because they're afraid of "those people" coming out to their side of town.  

      We're retiring Steve LaTourette (R-Family Values for You But Not for Me) and sending Judge Bill O'Neill to Congress from Ohio-14:

      by anastasia p on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 10:02:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  thanks for this diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eugene, Hardhat Democrat, futurebird

    Earlier tonight I put up a post about transportation policy at the Iowa progressive community blog Bleeding Heartland.

    I'm going to update it and add a link to your diary.

    John McCain: 100 years in Iraq "would be fine with me."

    by desmoinesdem on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 09:29:10 PM PDT

  •  I didn't own a car for about 15 years (6+ / 0-)

    I attended college and grad school in places where you didn't need a car, and I lived and worked in Europe for a number of years after that. I didn't own a car until I moved back to Iowa in my early 30s. You can't get around here without one.

    I am not a big-city person, but I do appreciate the cities where you don't need to have a car.

    John McCain: 100 years in Iraq "would be fine with me."

    by desmoinesdem on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 09:31:00 PM PDT

  •  Investment in roads should immediately cease. (3+ / 0-)

    Maintain what we have, but cease building new ones. Money instead needs to be plowed into public transit. New roads at this time would be an act of insanity.

    Nice chart, but, it would be better if you could clarify it - i.e. explain how both above the line and below the line are costs. I think mixing subsidies in with environmental costs is making it unclear to me. Not quite sure what you're getting at.

    I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day
    Neither is California High Speed Rail

    by eugene on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 09:31:59 PM PDT

  •  I wish the government made a better effort at (4+ / 0-)

    providing more public transportation.  I grew up most of my life in O.C. Ca and for whatever reason when they decided to build it up with the master planned communities they for whatever reason had no light-rail through out the communities.  Now I am in Vegas and although they have buses(and I think they run on biodiesel) I don't have a stop really close to the house and I hardly ever see the buses.  I wish they would legislate it or offer tax credits for developers to plan a little smarter.

    •  Like you (3+ / 0-)

      I grew up in OC. That place is a perfect example of the really, really bad development decisions that were made after World War II. OC originally was laid out pretty well - small towns oriented around major rail lines, with lots of farmland and orange groves in between. Heck, the Pacific Electric cars used to go to Santa Ana.

      That could have been built up and added onto slowly and steadily, keeping rail as the basis of travel but modernizing the systems. Instead OC went hog-wild for sprawl and the automobile. Vast portions of the place are going to become a wasteland. Ironically the best off will be the folks in the older 'burbs - Anaheim, Garden Grove, Buena Park - because they're still in decent proximity to rail and the houses are built on enough land to allow local, home food production.

      Rancho Santa Margarita is screwed.

      I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day
      Neither is California High Speed Rail

      by eugene on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 09:40:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Why is that the case (0+ / 0-)

        A few years ago Money Magazine said it was a great place to live.

      •  Orange groves in between (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        RSM is totally screwed but seriously they planned on keeping our orange groves.  I remember as a kid driving up to Irvine and it wasn't the orchard of houses it is now but rather oranges everywhere.  I grew up in San Juan so we had the train but we were up on a hill that wasn't exactly in walking distance.  If we were going to stay in the good ol O.C. I would have wanted a house in Old town Tustin, Orange, or some other area that had real houses not cookie cutter you could pass the butter between kitchens the house were built so close together houses.  Las Vegas seems to making the same mistakes as O.C. as far as I can tell with the massive sprawl happening here.

  •  I was in DC last week with a bicycle advocacy (8+ / 0-)

    group, lobbying for complete streets.

    From the Complete Streets website

    The streets of our cities and towns ought to be for everyone, whether young or old, motorist or bicyclist, walker or wheelchair user, bus rider or shopkeeper. But too many of our streets are designed only for speeding cars, or worse, creeping traffic jams. They’re unsafe for people on foot or bike — and unpleasant for everybody.

    Now, in communities across the country, a movement is growing to complete the streets. States, cities and towns are asking their planners, engineers and designers to build road networks that welcome all citizens.

    The idea is to require any road rojects using federal funds to consider ALL the possible users of the project, and design it with them in mind - not just cars.

    Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduced Senate bill S. 2686, The Complete Streets Act of 2008 - if anyone has time, call your senators  - (202) 224-3121 - and encourage them to sign on as co-sponsors.

  •  good stuff (8+ / 0-)

    I love how people out there think that their car is 'private transportation.'   As though nature came ready made with all of these gigantic paved roads going everywhere.

    Our society needs transportation and lifestyle choices.  I would love it if more places in America gave one the choice to live a more pedestrian and bike oriented lifestyle.  Sitting in traffic is a waste of a life.

    It turns out that Bush IS a uniter... he united the good half of the country virulently against him.

    by fizziks on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 09:40:50 PM PDT

  •  Don't own a car (7+ / 0-)

    and walk 3-5 miles a day and bike/take public transit everywhere else. I feel better. The city is more interesting. I talk to people I wouldn't see if I drove. I now know many of the homeless by name and have gotten to know that it could happen to anyone. I see the neighborhoods, notice the urban wildlife, and see what I missed when I drove. I like it.

    I'm reccing this because it is a good subject and as a bonus--it has nothing to do with the Primaries. Thanks.

    •  I wish I lived in a place (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      where you could do this. My sister gave up her car and joined one of those car co-ops for when she wants to get out of town. She can take public transportation to work and if she needs to go shopping she'll walk 8 or 10 blocks instead of driving. She even lost weight! But she's in San Francisco and I'm here in Cleveland and this city ranks in the pits for any kind of planning or development. It's in a strangehold by a handful of development interests that want to suck out tax money to line their own pockets, building glitzy downtown projects that inevitably fail and never delivber the promised "good jobs." These are the same people that backed a pliable candidate for congress to try to get rid of Dennis Kucinich  and luckily failed.

      We're retiring Steve LaTourette (R-Family Values for You But Not for Me) and sending Judge Bill O'Neill to Congress from Ohio-14:

      by anastasia p on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 10:08:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  On a Bill Mahr a season or so ago (0+ / 0-)

      (I am brain farting on the real name)Gandolff the Grey was saying Americans needed to get out of their cars more and interact with their fellow human beings more.  I couldn't have agreed more.

  •  This is a very important issue (4+ / 0-)

    McCain cannot win because he will continue Bush's anti-public transportation policies. One of McCain's top goals is to eliminate Amtrak. And that cannot be allowed to happen.

    It is a shame how the US has little in terms of public transportation, specifically rail lines, light rail, subways, streetcars, and so forth. This is a major issue that I wish both Obama and Hillary could address.

    •  McCain is the worst on this issue. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      desmoinesdem, A Siegel

      McCain claims that he cares about the environment, but it's all empty gestures. That anyone could claim to be concerned about the environment and want to cut Amtrak ... just boggles my mind!

      •  Yeah (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        McCain is very hostile to Amtrak and public transportation. For that reason alone he cannot win.

        •  Where is the evidence for this (0+ / 0-)

          or that he will be able to cut Amtrak with a Dem Congress.

          I don't think McCain will be able to eliminate Amtrak.  

          John McCain is a decent man, and I wish you wouldn't just make up shit about him.

          "The era of Scooter Libby justice, Brownie incompetence and Karl Rove politics will finally be over this year" Reject Marc Rich justice and Mark Penn politics.

          by IhateBush on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 11:06:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm not "making shit up" about McCain (0+ / 0-)

            McCain is hostile to Amtrak. See this link:

            Weyrich knows that Senator McCain, throughout his career, has been very anti-rail, and in that respect "would be [even] worse than the present [Bush] administration," whose Transportation Secretary Mary Peters (a big highway booster) has fought tooth and nail (as commission chairman) to block the pro-rail efforts of Weyrich and others allied with his 9-to-3 commission majority.

            McCain "would fight us on everything," Weyrich opined, and not just on rail issues, but also regarding several conservative concerns such as the Arizona senator's open-borders stance on immigration — and "He hates talk radio. He [McCain] has indicated he would favor shutting it down. He hates the religious right."

            To sum it up, the conservative leader expressed the views of many principled conservatives: "What would we want him [McCain] for?"

            The Arizonan has said shutting down Amtrak — he's if elected — would be "a non-negotiable issue" for him. Short-sighted, indeed.

            Here is another link:

            SEN. JOHN McCAIN, (R) Arizona: This has got to be called the great train robbery. It used to be in the Old West that the outlaws took money from the trains. Now the trains are taking money from the taxpayers--$2.3 billion. The James boys, Jesse and Frank, did not have the imagination that this--that this incredible scheme does. It's not to be believed.

            Another link:

            WASHINGTON (AP) -- Sen. John McCain panned a plan that would give Amtrak a "multibillion-dollar blank check" even though the railway is under orders to become independent from federal operating subsidies.

            So I'm not "making shit up" about McCain. The man is clearly hostile to Amtrak and has tried his best to eliminate it.

            •  Even if what you say is true (0+ / 0-)

              political, energy and transportation realities will prevent this from happening.  I know that McCain hates spending waste and thinks Amtrak is that, but at most Amtrak will be restructured to become more productive.  

              With gas prices so high, and the energy situation in deep shit, I doubt any Democratic Congress will allow it to be cut.  I expect Amtrak ridership to increase significantly in the next two years, which will make it impossible for it to be cut.

              The more I look at him, John McCain is a truly honorable guy with very high character, and I really am getting irritated at the attacks against him.  Stuff like the affair with the lobbyist smear against him is not fair.  
              I would certainly vote for him against Clinton, but there is a chance that I would consider voting for him if Obama is the nominee.  Al Gore right now is probably the only Democrat that I would certainly vote for against McCain.

              "The era of Scooter Libby justice, Brownie incompetence and Karl Rove politics will finally be over this year" Reject Marc Rich justice and Mark Penn politics.

              by IhateBush on Sat Mar 15, 2008 at 09:32:27 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Then why are you here? (0+ / 0-)

                If you like McCain so much, then why are you posting on a Democratic board? Seriously, if you have that much disagreement with the Democratic Party and think that McCain is "a truly honorable guy with character", then why are you spending your time here?

                •  I don't disagree with the Democratic (0+ / 0-)

                  Party that much.  I just believe that John McCain is a good guy, and that it is likely that both the country and the Democratic Party will be best off with John McCain as President as opposed to any Clinton.

                  "The era of Scooter Libby justice, Brownie incompetence and Karl Rove politics will finally be over this year" Reject Marc Rich justice and Mark Penn politics.

                  by IhateBush on Sun Mar 16, 2008 at 09:28:37 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Well then (0+ / 0-)

                    Should McCain win I hope that, in every way possible, he is the "good guy" that will leave the country "best off". For some reason I highly doubt it, but what do I know?

                    •  I'm here because I support (0+ / 0-)

                      the downballot Democrats as well.  Other than Al Gore, I just don't see any Democrat who is more qualified in character than John McCain to be President.  Obama is a maybe, I'll vote for him in the PA primary because I want Clinton to lose, but I'm not yet sold, if I think he'll be a competent Prez, I'll probably vote for him.

                      But all these attacks on McCain, comparing him to W (whom I consider worse than Stalin), a bogus story that suggests that he had an affair with a lobbyist, and otherwise portraying him as a monster that he is not, is driving me toward McCain.  It's high time that Democrats acknowledge that John McCain is an man with character unlike Clintons, who have no character.    

                      I'm considering joining a Democrats for McCain group at some point.

                      "The era of Scooter Libby justice, Brownie incompetence and Karl Rove politics will finally be over this year" Reject Marc Rich justice and Mark Penn politics.

                      by IhateBush on Sun Mar 16, 2008 at 07:20:10 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

      •  Re McCain ... (0+ / 0-)

        You might want to read

  •  51 years old, have never had a driver's license (7+ / 0-)

    I'm lucky, but I've also made lifestyle choices that have allowed me to live the way I do.

    I spent the first 41 years of my life in the Amtrak Northeast Corridor area, between New Haven, CT and Washington, DC. I was raised in suburban Baltimore and driven everywhere except school (we lived close enough to walk). I went away to college at 17 and undergraduates were discouraged from having cars, plus I didn't really need one and couldn't afford one, so I didn't consider it. When I got out I moved to New York City (Manhattan) and took buses and subways everywhere. Ten years later I moved to Washington, DC for work, took an apartment on the Red Line (Cleveland Park), and commuted to my office in Arlington (Rosslyn) painlessly every day.

    Then came the big test. In 1997 I was recruited for a job in suburban Portland, Oregon. I confess that I was concerned about whether I would have to get a license and start driving but when I came out here I realized that Portland has superb public transportation. In fact, I would say that once you go west of Chicago, Portland has the best public transit by far. Portland is also quite respectful of bicycle commuters and fairly friendly to pedestrians.

    Today I live in an 85 year old bungalow a four block walk from the Portland light rail system. That's how I get to work. I have a Trader Joe's across the street from my light rail station and a lot of other retail nearby. My husband has a car for those trips to Costco or IKEA or the huge supermarkets a few blocks further away. But even if he didn't, I am here to tell you: it CAN be done.

    •  when I lived in London (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vard, Hardhat Democrat, futurebird

      I took a cab on those rare occasions when I "needed" a car (like late at night or when I needed to bring home something too big or heavy to carry on public transit). Paying for the occasional cab is cheaper than paying for a car, insurance, parking, etc.

      John McCain: 100 years in Iraq "would be fine with me."

      by desmoinesdem on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 09:59:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It can be done, but it can be $$$ (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      desmoinesdem, The Overhead Wire

      I think it's so awesome that you've done that. It should be an easier choice... then more people would do it.

    •  Yes, we do... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vard, eeff, A Siegel

      but when I came out here I realized that Portland has superb public transportation. In fact, I would say that once you go west of Chicago, Portland has the best public transit by far. Portland is also quite respectful of bicycle commuters and fairly friendly to pedestrians.

      I live and work in the city of Portland, and I can get anywhere I need to go with my $76 monthly TriMet pass; which said pass will also become $65 starting next month as I'm moving much closer-in next week.  I do wish my job was a bit closer to the busline, but I'm not going to complain about a half-mile walk.  Besides that, everything else I need is within a couple blocks of the train or bus.  Grocery stores, shopping, restaurants, entertainment, parks and recreation...

      The frequent service buslines are excellent, and the buses and trains are always well-used.  It's a very healthy and smart system, in a very healthy and smart city.

      And not to mention that this is the most bike-friendly city in America, and also one of the most walkable...

      There are a couple of problems that stand out, though -

      I'm originally from the Northeast myself (Newark, NJ), and the main thing I see that bothers me out here in Portland is the lack of automobile tolls on highways and bridge crossings.  Tolls certainly won't eliminate congestion (see the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels, The Verrazano, The GWB, The Garden State Parkway, The NJ Turnpike, etc...), but they do force drivers to bear some of the costs that they inflict upon us.

      And if it wasn't so sad, it would be almost comical to keep hearing the continuous whining from those who choose to live cheaply in Vancouver, WA complain that their free ride into Portland is too troublesome.  And that we need to build them a new 12-lane bridge over the Columbia River...

      Whatever happened to taking responsibility for one's actions?  Or does that only apply to 'others'?  Why do I have to subsidize their unsustainable lifestyle choices?

      It seems so obvious to me what needs to be done there -

      If a new Columbia River span is built, it should be for extending MAX Light Rail into Vancouver.  And maybe a bus lane in each direction.  That's it.  Continue to maintain the current auto span, and add a toll.  $6.00 into Portland doesn't sound at all unreasonable to me (it works on Hudson River crossings, and suffice it to say that the cost-of-living is much lower out here than in the NYC area); and even that small sum wouldn't even come close to truly forcing suburban commuters who drive into Portland alone to pay their own way.  Even assuming the inevitable TriMet fare increases from that, it would still prove to be much cheaper to commute from WA into Portland via mass transit.  Also, I'd create a "Zone 4" fare system for crossing the Columbia River so as to somewhat offset the burden amongst low-income Portlanders who already use the system.

      Will we do something so obviously common sense like that?  I hope so, and since we are in the smartest and best planned North American city I say there's a good chance that we will make the correct decision.  But smart people have certainly been known to do incredibly stupid things before, especially in the public arena.  And the suburban "home"builders and their affiliated Asphalt Cabal are certainly not shy about flexing their political influence and muscle...

      •  Congestion fees (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        vard, eeff, Hardhat Democrat

        work for me ... that is a way to quickly put some "below" line externalities directly above the line.  

        And, well, as long as we are not a socialist/communist system, reality is that if you are richer, you have the ability to buy yourselves more goods and some of those goods might be access to roads ...

        •  Exactly, but we have to change the whole paradigm (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          vard, A Siegel

          And, well, as long as we are not a socialist/communist system, reality is that if you are richer, you have the ability to buy yourselves more goods and some of those goods might be access to roads ...

          Priority number one should be making clear to everyone that road construction and maintenance is largely a subsidy to private automobile owners.  Sure, my bus drives down a few of those same roads as well - but it does so at fixed intervals on a planned route through developed areas with anywhere between 10 and 30 (or more...) people at any given time.

          If roads were truly a 'public service'; I'd be able to walk or bike down, along or across them without the constant fear of being crushed by thousands of pounds of fast-moving metal...

          How do we begin to get people to see this?

          And nothing against the 'rich'...I don't begrudge them their wealth; but for the most part, they absolutely seem to be in favor of 'socialism' when it benefits them personally.

          •  completely agree (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Hardhat Democrat

            All those subsidies are invisible. We need to shine a bright light on them so that they are understood for what they are.

            My husband used to be the chairman of the NW neighborhood association transportation committee. They tried for years to get crosswalks painted on NW 23rd Ave. Finally someone was killed by a car while crossing at an unmarked crosswalk! -- and now the crosswalks have been painted.

  •  I've always been a tax conservative? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel, I

    Here in Pa we pay a 6% sales tax on the purchase price of a car. That money goes into the general fund instead of highway repair and public transportation. Cigarette and tobacco taxes should go toward regulation and hospital costs. Same with booze the money goes toward regulation and paying medical costs of drunk driving victims.
    When they were developing light rail systems in California the people were all for it.
    Because they thought it would lessen congestion and make their drive to work easier.

    We are who we've been waiting for ... to have a drink with then a romantic interlude in the parking lot.

    by usedmeat on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 10:06:11 PM PDT

  •  Nice graph! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel, futurebird

    I know, I should read the book, but -- what is included in the "social" costs?  I mean, I understand what the social costs are in terms of reduced pollution, etc.  I'm just curious what is quantified here.

    Also -- I imagine there's sort of a "punctuated equilibrium" (to borrow a phrase from another context) at work here.  That is, every 1% increase in public transportation funding does not move the Car side up 1% and the Public side down 1%.  But increasing funding by 10% moves the Car side up 10% and the Public side down 10%.  Is my hunch correct, in your opinion?

    •  "social costs" (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      opendna, Hardhat Democrat, A Siegel, I

      The "social costs" in this graph are based only on  the impact of inefficiencies introduced through greater congestion.

      I think your hunch makes sense. You need to have a reasonable transit network before people use it--- and it's a matter of getting over a certain threshold. Would you buy a car if there were no roads to half the places you needed to go? No.

      This is why the whole "look amtrak has no passengers cut funding" argument is so annoying. --that and the one they are trying now... Amtark rider-ship has increased substantially in the past few years... so they are wanting to cut funding anyway since now it "has more revenues" ... WTF?

  •  I find air travel very stressful, (6+ / 0-)

    but for some reason we allow massive public investment in automobiles and air travel and a pittance on rail.

    The movie "Who Killed the Electric Car" helps to explain the corruption behind these types of decisions.

  •  If you asked me a year ago (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    opendna, A Siegel

    my answer would have been very different.

    January 20. 2009 cannot come soon enough.

    by Crisis Corps Volunteer on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 11:12:32 PM PDT

  •  Nice graphic ... (0+ / 0-)

    Thank you ...

    A separate challenge, related, is the issue of fixed versus incremental costs.  Many of the "below" line are basically fixed costs for the owner / user: purchase price, insurance, licensing ... more or less, little impact on the cost of an additional mile.  Whereas the above line is visible. And, the above line is quite visible for public transport/such is quite clear, even more so than driving the car, since one doesn't put $s directly into the car when starting the engine but rather when filling up the tank.

    Also, one of the key challenges/issues does not seem represented here: value of time.  Public transport would cost roughly 5+ hours / week in additional time and we are talking roundtrip of 15 miles.  (E.g., more than doubling commute time ...)

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