Archive | Cars

Autonomous Cars Can Be Safe or Mass-Marketable, Not Both

You might remember a rash of people on social media becoming suddenly interested in “the Trolley Problem” a few years ago. A classic ethical thought experiment about the dilemma posed by a runaway trolley, contemporary interest in it has been revived as corporations and engineers (PDF) begin grappling with programming and design decisions that will govern […]

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The RiverCenter Parking Garage

Road salt eats away at concrete in multi-story parking garages in a process known as “Spalling”. Salt accelerates the rate at which water gets into cracks, causing the concrete to pull away from its Rebar reinforcement. This is what happened to the River Center parking garage in downtown Saint Paul. A section of the garage […]

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How To Tell If Your Car Is A Lemon

When I was a sophomore in college and I needed a car my parents gave me $200 towards a vehicle and a “good luck” pat on the back. I was rough on their cars, so it’s no surprise to me that they weren’t willing to invest much else into my own vehicle. My budget was […]

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My Barriers to Biking Are The Same Reasons I Bike

[This post originally appeared on the Our Streets Minneapolis blog] There are many reasons I keep my car despite living in a city that in many ways makes it easier to go carless. Some of these reasons are rational needs, some are ingrained fears, some are wants that sometimes outweigh my knowledge of the damage of […]

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Let’s Really Talk About Privilege in Transportation

A recent Streets.mn piece attempts to make the case that Minneapolis policies, including but not limited to the draft Comprehensive Plan, are part of a broader war on cars, driven by the “privilege” of people who cannot or choose not to drive. I feel like I have a responsibility to respond, because I’ve worked for transportation […]

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Winter is When We Need Alternative Transit the Most

The first blizzard this winter hit squarely over the entire workday, timing that was bad news for the plow crews trying to clear the streets in time for the city’s commuters to get home. My partner and I took a walk in the early evening and without ever making it more than four blocks from […]

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The Privilege of the Minneapolis Comprehensive Plan

My name is Carol Becker and I drive an automobile.  I feel like I am coming out of the closet by saying this. I don’t drive a car because I especially like driving.  I drive because I don’t have a choice. The proposed Comprehensive Plan does not support a balanced transportation system where the needs […]

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Would It Make Financial Sense to Drop A Car?

[This post originally appeared on my blog Think Of It As An Adventure.] One of the things I love about the Longfellow neighborhood – and a big reason I wanted to live here – was its close proximity to everything. That made it possible, in 2010, for my husband and I make the decision to become […]

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Chart of the Day: US Vehicle Distance Travelled, October

Via City Observatory, here’s a chart that shows a great proxy for the annual VMT (or vehicle miles travelled). It’s pretty self-explanatory. For many years, almost since the year 2000, VMT (the total amount of driving in the country) was at a plateau. With low gas prices and a booming economy, that’s changed. The country […]

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Chart of the Day: Lifecycle CO2 Emissions for Electric, Small, and Midsize Cars

Electric cars like the Tesla Model S are an amazing technological leap forward, but by themselves don’t change the automobility picture. Here’s a chart from a recent Financial Times story [subscription only!] about a “lifecycle” carbon footprint study, which looks at CO2 from production and recycling of cars in addition to their emissions while they […]

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