The Harms of a Car-Centric World

While most of the world’s population doesn’t drive, cars have an outsized negative impact on public health, the environment, and land use.

1 minute read

March 7, 2024, 10:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Overhead view of multilane elevated highway with multiple levels.

D. Kvasnetskyy / Adobe Stock

A wide-ranging new analysis of “automobility” reveals the many ways that car-dependent design harms people and neighborhoods, writes Kea Wilson in Streetsblog USA. “Just taking into account car crashes and fatalities linked directly to car-related air pollution and lead exposure, automobility kills at least 1.67 million people around the world every year — a total of 60 to 80 million since the advent of the automobile.” 

Beyond road deaths, the analysis shows how cars also contribute to pollution, worsening health, inefficient land use, and more. The analysis seeks to move away from a cost-benefit analysis that puts a price on human lives and environmental health and evaluates the broader harms that a car-centric culture causes. “From car crashes to pollution, virtually every item on this list disproportionately impacts socially and racially marginalized people — not least people who don’t drive, which the study authors point out constitutes ‘most people on the planet.’”

Tuesday, March 5, 2024 in Streetsblog USA

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