Saturday, January 02, 2016


Young adults look at the world they are inheriting, frustrated by congestion and the high costs of keeping a car. Many try to get along without one. They value having the right device with cool apps to summon a ride without owning a car. They scope out Uber, Lyft, Vulog and others leading a global transformation of urban mobility.

Marcus Sharpe (right) learning about podcars in 2014.
Transit and other public officials seem -- if not oblivious -- bewildered by the new economics of mobility. “Why are we holding on to the old technologies of the 20th century?” questions Marcus Sharpe in freeway-jammed Atlanta. To him, transit officials seem wedded to the past, unable to even think about modern modes to link up urban nodes better. He sees how sleek, high-service transit networks can be envisioned, not just lines.  

The Old Guard

Unfortunately Baruch Feigenbaum of Reason Foundation did not in 2013 when he proudly presented a plan to eliminate chronic congestion that costs Metro Atlanta drivers $1100 a year.  A 2010 plan by consultants HNTB has meant that highway and transit systems have failed to keep pace with north Georgia growth.

Does MARTA not care enough to see
the logic of enhanced TOD?
Reason’s plan tries to update and move on, mostly by  recommending new self-financing “dynamic lanes” and shifting transit funding from Georgia DOT to the Department of Community Affairs. Claiming to look out 30 years, the plan doesn’t even mention shared use, “smart TOD” or PRT -- the “untried” mode that excites Marcus and many of his cohorts.

Freed from 20th century baggage, Millennials look at urban living with fresh eyes. One calculates that putting a dollar more tax on gas would be an easy, revenue-generating measure that would very quickly reduce traffic. “Dude, is it the same people blocking the metric system?”

Millennials bubble with new ideas for tackling the problems of the world. It’s time for aging Boomers to shake loose of the 20th Century!

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