August 16, 2006

Transportation 101

This is another entry from my old (and soon to be expiring) website. I suspect that it's pretty much guaranteed to mess up my formatting since it begins with a large table (that fit fine on my old page, but I'm a little more *pushes out with each elbow* confined over here).

This post was originally made in the Winter of 2001 and some of the cartoons hold a bit more irony today than they probably did back then.

oh, and again, no promises on the links.

Transportation 101


Approx. cost to

Approx. cost to

Approx. cost to

walkingcost of shoes ($50)cost of paving sidewalkpositive health benefits

increased productivity
bikingcost of bike ($250)cost of paving bike lanemedical costs of people
who breath in (minimal) bike tire dust
cost of car ($15,000)

cost of gas

cost of auto registration

cost of drivers license

cost of auto insurance

cost of paving streets and highways

cost of lights, stop signs, etc.

cost of police to enforce speed limits

cost of meter maids to enforce parking limits

health costs that aren't covered by individuals

items to address noise issues

cost of legislators to develop laws regarding travel

cost of clean up from spilled oil

cost of department setup to oversee auto registrations,
drivers' testing, etc.

medical costs of people who breath
in car tire dust

medical costs of people who breath
in car exhaust

medical costs of people
who live near auto factories

medical costs of people who are affected
by spilled oil

(not to mention the loss of beauty as the earth gets
paved over, etc.)

driving +

(SUV's, clunkers, etc.)
lower mpg leads to greater gas costs

dittogreater damage to environment leads to increased
medical problems

increased risk of a fatality in an accident
(leads to lower productivity since the dead guy can no longer

Medical Effects

* Walkers have less incidence of cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other killer diseases.

* smog can cause birth defects

* living near auto factories creates a higher likelihood of children having cancer

* more people are being killed by air pollution from traffic than from
traffic crashes each year
(and again) (and again)

* auto exhaust can lead to respiratory ailments

* tire dust can lead to rhinitis (runny nose), conjunctivitis (tearful
eyes), to hives (urticaria), bronchial asthma, and occasionally
even a life-threatening condition called anaphylactic shock

(and again)

* tire dust can build sensitivities to latex (and again)

* auto traffic stirs up pollens and molds and may therefore worsen
asthma and hay fever

* ground level ozone can irritate the respiratory system, reduce lung
function, aggravate asthma, and/or inflame and damage the lining
of the lung
(and again)

* nationally
there are approximately 18.1 auto-accident-related deaths per
100,000 people

* Compared with other vehicle types, utility vehicles experienced the highest rollover rates: 37.8 percent in fatal crashes, 10.0 percent
in injury crashes, and 2.5 percent in property-damage-only crashes.

* healthier employees are often happier and more productive (and
(and again)
Environmental Effects (which often lead to Medical Effects)
* oil spills and leaks destroy the environment and may be closer than
you think
(more) (still more) (and a little more)

* air pollution is causing problems in national parks

* auto manufacturing produces great quantities of pollutants

* SUV's are allowed, by law, to produce more pollutants than passenger cars

* SUV's get crappy gas mileage (compare
the gas mileage for cars page to the best and worst of SUV's page)


  1. It's either RVs or Segways.
    There doesn't seem to be a middle ground.

    Meg, the table formatting needs work, though.

    Aloha mai Nai`a, rider of buses (with a car in the garage).

  2. :-P it's looking ok on my end so i doubt i'll bother with it.

    i don't feel so attached to these old posts that i want them to look perfect, but i do feel sentimental enough that i don't want to let them die when my website does.

    of course, with multiply's home base in florida, all it might take is a poorly placed hurricane and everything will be gone anyway. oh, well.

    btw, have you ever heard of the Megway? ;-)

  3. In terms of how many miles you can go, I think that $250 bicycle will last quite a lot longer than the $25 shoes. My bike was $1200 or so, but I have had it for 8 years, in which time it has not required much in the way of additional expenditures. My shoes wear out rather quickly.

  4. yeah, i should probably multiply the shoe cost by something to account for replacements.

    for now you'll have to use your imagination.

  5. add the cost of spending two days walking to and from work...

  6. well, there's the whole "new urbanism" aspect to this too.

  7. where can i get one? "The low cost of purchase and operation, along with the large towing and carrying capacity, ...each Megway is capable of carrying up to 120 pounds in its front cargo compartment in the form of either boxes or bags. The optional broom, mop, and floor buffing attachments (not shown) turn Megway into a powerful cleaning machine."

  8. we've got one.

    it works pretty well except when there's an idle computer nearby. ;-)

  9. yeah, urban planning is almost an oxymoron.
    everyone wants a house with a miniature 17th century landscape garden.
    no one wants to consider where that's taking us.
    the answers were proposed 100 years ago, almost.

    (i own a house in suburbia myself, and drive 1500 miles / month, at like 25 mpg...)

  10. They had telecommuting 100 years ago? Wow!

  11. ok, there have been new answer added to the list since then...
    and i was maybe exaggerating a little.

  12. Wow shoes, pushbikes and cars are cheap where you live.

  13. ah, that will be in my next post from my expiring site. ;-)

    when we moved to fort collins from san francisco, the lawn was one of the things that hit us hard. we couldn't get over the fact that we were actually expected to water something that didn't flower and didn't feed us.

  14. well, you can certainly spend more on these things. or less.

    how much does the average car cost in australia?

    rob bought a 2000 toyota corolla a few years back (3 years ago?) for $6000. what would that have been out there?

  15. Average price for a new 6 cylinder sedan would be around $35,000. That Toyot Corolla would have cost around $24,000 here.

  16. any idea what the exchange rate is right now? would that account for some of the difference?

    considering the tariffs we have on foreign cars and the extra distance they have to travel to get here, you'd think toyotas would be cheaper there.

  17. Toyota is probably one of the cheaper cars here in Oz, they used to be partners with Holden. Mind you I don't keep up with the price of cars anymore. All I know is the one I like is up in the $30,000 range, or they were. I love Holdens..The first car I ever drove was a EH holden V8 (owned by my first husband) My ex had modified it and it was HOT hehe...well was at the time..typical teenagers hey?? Here in Oz there are basically two car owners (well used to be) one is Holden owners Yay woo hooo best car in the world...the others are Ford owners boooo yuckypoos ewwww terrible cars..our son told us he is thinking of buying a Ford..wellll we told him not to bother driving it up our drive hehe

  18. Just to provide a balanced argument, don't forget to figure in other factors such as jobs for workers in companies that make the shoes, bikes, automobiles, oil, gasoline, steel, etc. This is what the government quotes again and again for benefits to the economy and is why the electric car is being suppressed.

  19. so a car is better, according to the workers argument, because it takes more people to make it? but i don't get why the electric car would be supressed by that argument.

  20. Although the automakers have the technology to make electric cars, development and deployment is being stifled by people in the industry with a hand in the oil industry. See "Who Killed the Electric Car?" ( for more on that.

  21. They forgot about the rolling brown-outs. Silicon Valley was (and still is) very excited about alternative fuel technologies. The electric vehicles were looking very promising. We started seeing electric vehicle recharging stations pop up at various stores (although there were two competing types of recharging stations, which didn't help matters). But then we ran out of electricity. Between the mega data centers sucking up tons of power and PG&E having their price gouging scandal, electric vehicles just became impractical. There was just not enough electricity to go around. I think that the power shortage here killed the electric vehicle in this area more than anything else.

  22. the other problem with an electric car is that it's still using some form of energy. i don't remember where electricity comes from in cali (other than from the windmills down south) but here most of our electricity is either from coal (thanks to wyoming) or natural gas. there are some wind powered stations and probably some water powered stations as well, but coal is king in colorado still.

  23. You can also convert your car to gas. I dont know if its cleaner or not but gas costs about half what petrol does.

  24. What is your stance on wind farms Meg?

  25. i don't know what i think about wind farms. it seems like a good source of energy, especially around these parts where it's often windy.

    but i've heard that birds often fly into the things. :-(

  26. Well that is the controversy of wind farms here in Oz. People reckon birds are killed by them. Personally I think that the "cleaner" electricity is better for the entire world than "conventional" sources of electricity. But what do I know? I'm no expert on the subject but it gets my goat up that people are worried about a few bloody birds dying when millions of both animals, humans and this wonderful earth are dying from radiation poisoning and global warming. Honestly the *turbines don't turn that fast, well the ones down the road don't anyways.

    *not sure what they are called.


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