Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Another attack on the car industry - from Forbes

Three days after my post on why the world's car industry needs to re-think its entire business model, this piece from that bastion of American free-market capitalism, Forbes, essentially arguing a very similar case. If you can't be bothered to read the whole thing, here's the intro...
Young people are losing interest in driver’s licenses. Cars have climbed to near-record prices. Increasingly, Americans are looking at alternatives to cars, like public transportation, bike sharing and rides from Uber.
So it's not just in western Europe that peak car is happening. The US auto industry is also facing a serious demographic threat from young consumers.

Another factor I didn't mention in my previous post related to the car is air pollution. Not yet an issue out in the open in Warsaw as it is in London, Paris, Athens or Beijing - but it will be.

See this survey by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe about how many lives could be saved if the same number of people across Europe travelled by bicycle as they do in Copenhagen (where 26% of the population cycles to work). The UNECE report suggests that in London alone, raising the number of journeys undertaken by bicycle from 3% to 25% would cut the number of premature deaths caused by air pollution by over 540 a year. In Warsaw, where 5% of journeys are by bike, the number of deaths prevented would be over 190 a year.

London was hit by some serious air pollution at the beginning of this month, with warnings on TV not to conduct strenuous exercise outdoors, and to keep vulnerable groups of people inside.

This article on Politics.co.uk suggests that 4,000 Londoners a year die from air pollution, and yet politicians are afraid to tackle the issue. Again, here's a highlight...
Across the UK, more than one in twenty deaths each year are now caused in part by air pollution. That's almost 30,000 people whose deaths could be avoided. But while politicians queue up to warn about the dangers of sugar and passive smoking to children, very few are willing to say anything about the deaths our addiction to cars has caused.
In London, no doubt here in Warsaw air quality will get worse before it gets better. In the meantime, don't drive if you really don't have to.

This time last year:
Bicycle shake-down day

This time two years ago:
40 years on - Roxy Music's first two albums

This time four years ago:
Twenty years, ten months, six days
[Spooky coincidence]

This time six years ago:
Swans still in Jeziorki

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