You really need to almost get hit by a car to feel like a true Johannesburg pedestrian. That's the way it goes here. A huge, sprawling greater metropolitan area of about 10 million people covering more than 600 square miles, the city is built for the car. And if you're not in one, good luck.
I was reading Wendell Cox's recent attack on the Center for Neighborhood Technology's affordability calculations, and was struck by one thing he wrote:“transportation costs will be reduced in the future by the far more fuel efficient vehicles being required by Washington.”*
In other words, don't worry about Americans being impoverished by the cost of a car for every man, woman, and 16-year old in the House: the technological miracle of fuel efficiency will save us.
Transportation and its relationship to the economy have been headline media topics for most of 2008 as we have seen unprecedented swings in fuel prices and travelers responding with declines in vehicle miles of travel (VMT) and unprecedented slowing in new vehicle sales. Transit and Amtrak have seen noticeable ridership growth and there have been cutbacks in demand for and supply of airline capacity. What is increasingly looking like an historic recession combined with a plummeting of gas prices late in 2008 has confounded the diagnosis of energy price impacts on travel.