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Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.
I certainly agree about (electric) buses, trams and trains being the rational solution. I think a society based on individual ownership of a car is definitely unsustainable. Actually, I chose not to own a car and I use public transports instead.
"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
Off the top of my head, I can think of three good reasons to regularly drive a personal vehicle:
After all, it is not impossible to imagine that the reason carpooling works at the moment is that our present automobile fleet provides ridiculously excessive capacity. If the only people who had cars were the ones who actually needed them, there might not be enough slack in terms of cargo capacity and passenger space to enable carpooling, unless you deliberately designed your city planning and business practises around it. Which may or may not be worth the bother.
Now, I do think that carpooling will be worthwhile, even in a low-car infrastructure. But unlike cornucopians, like Julian "copper can be made from other metals" Simon, I like to accompany my policy recommendations with some back-of-the-envelope arithmetic showing that I'm at least in the right ballpark. And I just don't have the information to do that on carpooling.
Of course, we could make it a matter of policy to organise and incentivise carpooling during the transition. Which is an excellent idea, but not required for the transition to work.
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