Put gas in the car, step on the go pedal and away we ride. It did not entail much more thought than that in the U.S. or Western Europe for decades. The decades of cheap oil and when ˜Global Warming” meant how hot your light bulbs got. Those days are over on both counts.We’ll have to spend some time figuring out new ways of moving our goods and ourselves around the country and planet. We’ve been learning about E85 gasoline, biodiesel and maybe hydrogen powered cars coming along in the near future. These fuels are old wine in new bottles with the same promise of transportation on tap – locomotion when you want it and how you want it.This traditional mode is primarily individual or small group based transportation that is unscheduled, generally inefficient and requiring a very large distributed network overhead to keep it running. This overhead includes a lot of gasoline stations, mechanics and parts suppliers to service all these vehicles.As society addresses global warming through modifications to its transportation system it will seek new ways to streamline the system. We already have the basic trunk lines of our road system in place. It is called the interstate and state highway systems. Like Europe with its network of rail lines we will most likely seek to use what we already have in a manner to maximize movement while reducing carbon emissions. This could take the form of mass transport with only multiple car buses and trucks allowed to use the freeways and major state roads. These would be regularly scheduled, modern and run around the clock from transport hub to transport hub.From the major hubs smaller vehicles would take people and goods to minor hubs. Then individual vehicles, powered by one of the alternative fuels mentioned, would be available.Local transport in your hometown area would still be primarily by individually owned vehicles. Their range would be limited by the fuel infrastructure for their particular power system and available roads. Bicycling and walking will take on a whole new meaning other than recreation or exercise. Our towns and cities will have to adapt to these changes by creating pathways and crossings that will allow all of these methods to safely coexist. Because of this people will seek to live closer to the cities rather than farther away. We will have to make adjustments if a system like this comes into place in the future. We are used to doing what we want, when we want, how we want and not conforming to a schedule.Over 2.5 billion people live like this everyday, in China, India and Japan. They do not seem to have a problem getting around and ahead with a system like this.Without major changes in the way we move our goods and ourselves we will keep on pumping out carbon and the global temperature will continue to rise.
Think Global – Act Local!