There is an assertion made in the article Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from the U.S. Transportation that “U.S. transportation system provides Americans with the greatest mobility of any society on earth”. Yes there are cars everywhere and the United States has been a leading player in the world of globalization but has transportation really improved the social mobility of working people? As the paper states, it is fundamental for the American economy but the disparity in income in the United States is an indicator that transportation policy has not helped everyone. Mobility is important but the conversation about the future of transportation policy ought to include a socio-economic agenda that aims to promote equity for disadvantage communities. Transportation is about scientific technology but not exclusive and should encompass modern concerns about employment and education. In order for innovative technology and policy to be successful, education and social issues must be taken into account. We cannot have only a small percentage of Americans driving smarter cars and having the necessary education with the rest of the country still struggling just to keep up.
In the section where the authors state that there are 4 fundamental ways to reducing GHG emissions. “Increasing vehicular energy efficiency, better substitutes for energy sources, increase transportation system efficiency and reducing transportation activity” are the suggested strategies, yet nothing about education or issues about inequity. If the goal is to reduce emissions on a scale that actually lowers the rate of pollution than policy will require the all commuters be engaged in the process. Transportation policy should be collaborative and inclusive as it engages more stakeholders beyond just economists and environmentalists.
As this course comes to its close and all the topics have been explored, it becomes evidently clear that the conversation of transportation policy ought to shift. Transportation is critical for all our livelihood, without it, we severely suffer socially and economically. Yes, we are a culture of cars but there are communities throughout the country that do not have this kind of accessibility, transportation is a real concern. While it is important to remember the environmental factors of transportation, policy making should take into account the issues and concerns of communities that are experiencing barriers in transportation. It isn’t realistic to envision a world with better cars and cleaner air, transportation systems need to be concerned with economic and social issues. Transportation isn’t just about the physical act of moving people and goods; it is about politics, the environment and people’s equity. Thank you Colleen for reviewing my final submission.