When it Comes to Transportation, It’s All About Options

Debunking the notion of the personal automobile as liberator.

1 minute read

September 21, 2023, 5:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Fast paced scene with people bike and cars at the busy intersection of 14th Street and 5th Avenue in New York City.

deberarr / Adobe Stock

In a piece for Strong Towns, Tiffany Owens Reed pushes back on the common—false—rhetoric that transit activists and leftist politicians are trying to “take away cars” and “force” a reliance on public transit.

For Owens Reed, this clouds the debate. “What should be a conversation about wise public investment and stewardship can quickly become a debate about private property and free choice,” Owens Reed notes.

Debunking the car’s role as liberator while acknowledging that, in many U.S. cities, we’ve constructed our built environment so that cars are a necessary part of life, Owens Reed writes that many of the most vulnerable people in our society—“Seniors. Children. People with disabilities. The poor.”—“are the ones who are the most vulnerable yet seem to be considered last, if at all, in the way our cities are designed.” For Owens Reed, “Cars and car-oriented design give everyone an element of freedom except for them.”

Equitable, accessible transportation isn’t about taking cars away from those who have them. It’s about providing more choices, and safer transportation networks, for everyone. “Truly equitable transportation reform would take this kind of monopoly seriously and seek to make the joy of movement available to everyone, no matter if they could afford a car or not.”

Tuesday, September 19, 2023 in Strong Towns

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