WASHINGTON, D.C.: The vehicle population of the United States grew six times
faster than the human population between 1969 and 1995, according to a
Department of Transportation survey. The number of vehicles increased
two-and-a-half times as fast as the number of households, and twice as fast as
the number of drivers. "Inundation is not too strong a term for it,"
said Alan E. Pisarski, a transportation expert. The latest Nationwide Personal
Transportation Survey paints a startlingly-changing picture of life on the
road from 1969 when the first survey was conducted, until 1995. While the
number of drivers has risen 72 percent, the number of vehicles has risen 144
percent. Drivers used to outnumber cars by 30 percent; now the two are equal.
The number of households without vehicles decreased from 20.1 to 7.9 percent
of all households. But Mr. Pisarski said the growth spurt would not continue
because the rush of women into the work force and the baby boomers into the
ranks of licensed drivers had ended. We're probably stabilizing at high
levels," he said.
-The New York Times
Paris Gasps for Air
PARIS, FRANCE: The government banned half of all private cars from Paris roads
on September 30 and ordered free public transportation because of record
pollution hanging in windless weather. The French capital's air monitoring
agency said nitrogen dioxide, a product of car exhaust, had increased
pollution to "level three"--the worst on its scale.
BANGKOK, THAILAND, is so choked with traffic that officials last year were
forced to declare a city-wide holiday so that limousines could reach an
international conference being held there. All the more need, then, for the
Thailand Cycling Club which began in 1991 and now has more than 1,000
members. For each of the past five years the Club has organized a major
bicycle rally in Bangkok to draw
attention to the need for bicycle facilities. As a result of these efforts the
city's first bicycle way was launched by the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority in
November 1995. Last year the Club was awarded a Thailand Tourism Award for its
promotion of tourism by bike.
Say "Crash," not
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is purging the word
accident" from official usage, changing instead to crash. The change is a
welcome one to pedestrians and other transportation safety advocates, who have
long held that the high levels of traffic fatality and injury in the U.S. are
not accidental but are integral costs of our transportation system.
Drivers to Bear Repair
SACRAMENTO, CA: California legislators recently announced a novel way to pay
for repairs to earthquake-damaged bridges--make the drivers pay for them.
While NYC transportation offices pillage government coffers to cover the $3
billion repair costs of the East River Bridges, Bay area commuters will fork
over an extra dollar (to $2) to travel over five Bay area bridges. Elected
officials and transportation planners have known for years that East River
Bridge tolls make economic and transportation sense, but have lacked the
political will to make drivers pay up for the cost of their excesses.
Kuala Lumpur Mandates
KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA: The Kuala Lumpur City Hall has built the country's
first bicycle ways in the suburban housing area of Wangsa Maju. The pilot
project cost U.S. $320 000 and includes sheltered bicycle parking at certain
bus stops in the area. The mayor said that U.S.$1.6 million has been allocated
to build bicycle ways throughout Kuala Lumpur. Developers will be required to
provide bicycle ways in new housing estates, and a similar sum has been
allocated to building and improving facilities for pedestrians.
-The Star, Kuala Lumpur
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