Prior Studies of Small Vehicles and Associated Infrastructure

Years ago, Garrison and Clarke (1977) observed that the primary impediment to extending modal options in the direction of low-speed and light-weight is the "one size fits all" mentality that permeates the transportation infrastructure, and thus the structure of lives. Following up on this, Pitstick and Garrison (1991) analyzed how the transportation system could be restructured to accommodate "lean" vehicles (i.e., small, fuel-efficient, one- or two-passenger vehicles). Most pertinently, Bosselmann et al. (1993) examined how neighborhoods and roads should be changed to accommodate small, clean, inexpensive motor vehicles. They addressed many of the issues that I raise here and came to many similar conclusions, although they have not proposed a similar transportation and town plan. Finally, Sheller and Urry (2000) analyze the interaction between automobility and urban planning, and conclude with suggestions on how to redesign automobiles and urban public spaces to "address the negative constraints, risks, and impacts of automobility." They propose extensive use of "micro cars...integrated into a mixed transportation system that allowed more room not only for bikes, pedestrians, and public transportation, but also for modes of travel that we have only begun to imagine. This would require redeployment of existing urban zoning laws to exclude or severely delimit 'traditional' cars and to place lower speed limits on them." Thus, Shelly and Urry (2000) recognized the advantages of making cars smaller and slower as well as of redesigning urban areas to accommodate such vehicles better.

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