Driving in Reverse

First The Atlantic and now The Economist are talking about unprecedented declines in driving and car ownership, especially among youngsters scarred by the recession and high gas prices, living in transit-oriented cities, and more mindful of the environmental consequences of unbridled driving.  Whether cause or effect, the romance of the car is no longer there: who now waxes philosophical about making their first car purchase, feeling the wind through their hair on a long ride, or getting some action up on Make-out Point?

We still have a long way to go, in our individual attitudes and in our government policies, to put driving in its place in terms of balancing its convenience with the ecological, land use, and geopolitical impacts it generates for all of us.  But we've come a long way, too, in a relatively short period of time - think of how entrenched constant driving was a mere seven or eight years ago - and I have to think that there is even more progress still to come. 

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