The world is changing fast — especially the world of transportation. As population and distances traveled increase, it’s becoming clear the old model of “every trip in a personal motor vehicle” simply does not scale.
Traffic, congestion, noise, pollution and the exploding expense of vehicles and roads all prove the old model is not sustainable, or even desirable, and certainly not equitable. It doesn’t work for those who are too young, too old, too infirm or too poor to drive everywhere.
Many choose multi-modal alternatives for environmental, health or economic reasons. It’s time to shift gears and get creative about options.
Some countries are way ahead in embracing alternate forms of transportation. In Holland, the transition began in 1970 and, now, fewer than one third of all trips involve a personal motor vehicle.
It’s happening everywhere. Even in the United States. Even in Florida. Even in Volusia County. In DeBary, trail-and-transit-oriented development already enables some people to live car-free, car-optional or car-lite lifestyles. Now DeLand is getting our own commuter-rail station, and trail-and-transit-oriented development plans are already on the horizon.
Technology innovations anticipate the shift. E-bikes, cargo bikes, disability aids and other micromobility devices put active mobility options within reach for every age, ability, and physical and economic condition. Ownership is shifting toward bike-share, ride-share, vehicle-share options. Public transit options expand and innovate.
Policy and infrastructure lag in the U.S., but that will also evolve over time as federal, state and regional agencies embrace active mobility.
— Ardito is St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop Alliance president and a River of Lakes National Scenic Byway board member. She encourages policies, infrastructure and attitudes that enable equitable active mobility.