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Why Do People Drive When They Don't Want To?

City Observatory digs into the history of a Chicago suburb to answer the question: "Why don't people who say they'd like to take transit actually do it?"
April 30, 2016, 11am PDT | Elana Eden
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Daniel Hertz examines a county where more than half of working people say they'd prefer to go to work without a car, yet nearly 90 percent drive to work.

Their reasoning is simple: In DuPage, transit doesn't go where residents need to.

Finding the reason for that requires some historical research, which Hertz delivers. He unearths the planning decisions made in the area in the 1950s, in the context of the needs of the community as well as the prevailing trends and theories at the time. Readers end up with a cautionary tale of how easily decisions about the built environment can become entrenched, and play out invisibly in everyday life years later:

[T]he decisions of planners and developers over the last several decades have created a land use pattern that essentially locks in transportation choices for all future residents, who are now stuck commuting in ways they say they’d rather not.

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Published on Monday, April 11, 2016 in City Observatory
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