The bus, the bike, and the elevator are the future of transportation

There’s a lesson in that. Getting people around in new, different ways—as happened in Amsterdam between 1970 and 2000, between Beijing and Shanghai in the past decade, and in Dar es Salaam right now—relies mostly on technologies that we have had for a while. Why should we want to change the status quo? Most urgently, because transportation from motor vehicles is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. We spend, onaverage, nearly two full days a year in rush-hour traffic (about five days in Los Angeles). We pay dearly for the privilege, spending $740 a month per car according to AAA. Last year, 36,560 Americans died in car crashes, not including 6,283 pedestrians killed by cars. Countless more are sickened by exhaust. Nearly half of American kids walked or biked to school in 1950; today that figure is 13 percent.