How to get cleaner air? Germany considers free mass transit

February 14, 2018
How to get cleaner air? Germany considers free mass transit
In this Nov. 24, 2017 file photo a short subway train carries commuters and pupils in the outskirts of Frankfurt, Germany. German ministers have discussed considering offering free public transportation to get more people to use environmentally friendly mass transit, but their idea has run into opposition by some German cities and towns, who think the plan is too expensive. (AP Photo/Michael Probst, file)

How best to get cleaner air? Some officials in Germany want residents to leave their polluting cars at home.

German ministers have discussed considering offering free public transportation to get more people to use environmentally friendly mass transit, but their idea has run into opposition by some German cities and towns, who think the plan is too expensive.

The head of the German Association of Towns and Municipalities said Wednesday "the communities and public cannot pay for that." Gerd Landsberg told the dpa news agency the transportation services needed the income from bus and subway fees to fund and improve their operations.

Several German cities may have to impose driving bans for certain cars later this year because of high levels of .

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Eikka
5 / 5 (1) Feb 15, 2018
How to get people to drive less: disperse the shops and services.

The mass transit authorities are mainly interested in ferrying people in and out of the inner cities, to benefit the concentration of businesses there, but as a side effect the peripheries of the cities wither away and services are removed, which causes people to drive more to get at them.

As the services concentrate to the inner city, property values rise, and the poorer people are pushed further out to where the public transportation won't reach due to cost-effectiveness reasons - and it becomes again cheaper to drive yourself. You also have to look at what people do for a living: the inner city doesn't offer any productive manufacturing jobs - all there is is service and retail - and to actually make wealth you have to make value, so the people then have to start commuting out of the city to the factories and farms.

antialias_physorg
not rated yet Feb 15, 2018
How to get people to drive less: disperse the shops and services.

This makes little sense because people will want to do their shopping where they can find all of the businesses they need in close proximity. If you decentralize businesses then people will just drive *more* to get to each store in turn on the weekend.

Shopping is a necessary evil - or to use a meme "ain't nobody got time for that". I don't want to go hunting for stores all over the place (and no, it's not realistic to have an electronics store, clothing outlets for the various brands, and all the specialty food services I might be in the mood for in every little village) .

Shops are middle-men. Middle-men create inefficiencies because they do not provide an actual value increase of the product to the consumer.

There are countries which have tried free transit (e.g. Estland has free transit in Tallin...which seems to have worked well, as traffic and pollution have dropped by 10% since then.
Eikka
not rated yet Feb 16, 2018
This makes little sense because people will want to do their shopping where they can find all of the businesses they need in close proximity. If you decentralize businesses then people will just drive *more* to get to each store in turn on the weekend.


That's not mutually exclusive, and I also disagree with your premise. Not everybody needs the grocery store, the food court, the clothing store, bank... etc. every day all at once.

Small town shops and kiosks with a post used to be a thing, now they're dead because all the services have moved downtown, or onto large supermarkets and malls erected on cheap land along the side of highways. As a result, anyone who can't afford the rents downtown have to drive.

The problem is that as you go further away from the city center towards the suburbs, the distances and areas to be covered by public transportation increases in the square of the radius, and so does the cost and inconvenience of using it.
Eikka
not rated yet Feb 16, 2018
The major issue is that public transportation paid by the city is a direct subsidy to the businesses downtown. Meanwhile the working classes who live outside of the city center, who work in the factories and other productive facilities that bring value and wealth to the city, are paying the cost of moving the services further away out of their reach by the concentration of services downtown.

And it's not just shops. It's schools, gyms, health clinics, hobby opportunities etc. etc. that move towards the higher customer density, even though the actual population density would warrant them staying where they are.

It has the perverse consequence of people now having to travel further distances because they can't find the services closer to home. What for many used to be a walking distance is now necessarily a bus ride away.
Eikka
not rated yet Feb 16, 2018
https://blogs.cri...-cities/

At least in Australia, studies show that high public transportation correlates with high centralization of people living closer to the city centers.

Now, the more centralized a city is, the less productive it is in terms of real value, because high population densities impose high land value, which drives off any manufacturing and other jobs at the lower end of the value chain. The highly concentrated cities become about finance and trade, and other high money but low real value enterprises: the services economy.

This is a bad proposition, since there are few value-producing blue collar jobs to be had, and it brings about the urban poor: people who have to work two jobs serving coffee or flipping burgers just to afford to live there. They could move out of the city, but leave all the services behind thanks to the concentration, so that's a non-option.

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