Was the automobile the worst thing to happen to American society? America would be a much better place today if we didn't scrap all of our streetcars and interurbans for highways.
Fuck, some anon posted a great link to this a while ago, but now I can't find it.
Anyway, the Eisenhower Highway System, while officially for defence purposes - was primarily to increase consumption and usage of cars, before that there existed a pretty good public transportation system.
The public transport was also bought up by several car manufacturers at the same time - when we also see a rapid decline in it's usage. While this was later considered a cartel agreement - the one who confiscated it was the same Eisenhower.
You're probably thinking of the "great streetcar conspiracy," which was actually proven to be a legitimate conspiracy by GM to end existing streetcar service in major cities and replace it with buses (made by GM, of course) and highways.
There's a good thread about this on /n/, the transportation board.
Absolutely yes. North America had/has absolutely everything going for it - space, natural beauty, wealth, peace - but fucked it up totally by utterly destroying almost all its cities through sprawl.
If I could go back in time and change one thing, it would no-joke be to ban the personal ownership of automobiles.
car culture is the ultimate expression of autonomy
man traded the horse for communal transport like trains and ships during the industrial era
theres just a natural pressure individual car ownership in a society rich enough for this to be affordable to regular folk
The only time car culture can express autonomy is through massive public investment in free-to-use infrastructure.
Which removes autonomy from everyone who has not yet bought into car culture. Wow, such autonomy.
It's a pretty terrible ideal of autonomy. Urbanism does it better.
They are inefficient, dangerous and pollutive.
Look at your typical strip mall. Parking lots are at least 2 times the area of the stores they serve. I wish I lived in he horse and buggy days living in a compact city with people out on the street instead of boxed off in a tinted car.