To a large extent, NP is a reaction to the way in which the automobile has affected the environment and reshaped the cities. Arth writes: “Our quality of life is dependent on achieving a spectrum of physical and psychological needs in a clean, safe, and beautiful environment that can only be accomplished with highly integrated urban design and planning. As long as vehicles, roads, parking lots, garages, and automobile-related businesses cover a significant portion of the landscape and determine the design of nearly everything else, most American cities will continue to be dysfunctional and degraded slumscapes, choked with traffic.”
Over six million motor vehicle related accidents result in almost three million injuries, and over 42,000 deaths each year in the United States alone. Worldwide, approximately half a million deaths occur each year from motor vehicle accidents.
Over-reliance on the automobile, coupled with the lack of a pedestrian-friendly environment, has contributed to two-thirds of adult Americans being overweight or obese. Americans spend about $33 billion a year trying to lose weight. Degradation of the urban and rural landscape caused by sprawl also has wide-ranging negative effects on the environment and contributes to high maintenance costs to the infrastructure.
Most Americans spend as much of their income on transportation as on housing, with residents of more automobile-dependent cities spending as much as three times as much of their Gross Regional Product (GRP). People in Houston, Atlanta, Dallas-Ft.Worth spend about 23% of their GRP on transportation compared to 9% in Honolulu, New York City, and Baltimore, and 7% in Toronto. These statistics are from the late 90’s before the huge runup in oil prices, and do not include some of the hidden costs of oil consumption.
Read more about this topic: New Pedestrianism
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Famous quotes containing the word automobile:
“The highway presents an interesting study of American roadside advertising. There are signs that turn like windmills; startling signs that resemble crashed airplanes; signs with glass lettering which blaze forth at night when automobile headlight beams strike them; flashing neon signs; signs painted with professional touch; signs crudely lettered and misspelled.... They extol the virtues of ice creams, shoe creams, cold creams;...”
—For the State of Florida, U.S. public relief program (1935-1943)
“Let a man find himself, in distinction from others, on top of two wheels with a chainat least in a poor country like Russiaand his vanity begins to swell out like his tyres. In America it takes an automobile to produce this effect.”
—Leon Trotsky (18791940)