Cities Need More Public Transit, Not More Uber and Self-Driving Cars

A SEPTA bus in Philadelphia.

A SEPTA bus in Philadelphia (via Jarrett Stewart on flickr).

This post appeared in Truthout and Moyers & Company.

New transportation technologies — self-driving cars, electric vehicles and ride hailing services like Uber — promise to revolutionize transportation, especially in cities. While there are certainly potential benefits to these technologies, they have been called “solution[s] in search of a problem” because many of the benefits touted by advocates of these technologies are benefits that public transportation, walking and cycling already offer in abundance.

One thing rarely mentioned in the enthusiastic boosterism of these technologies is how their widespread adoption will affect the poor. Like other expenditures (especially those on necessities), the poor often pay a large portion of their income on meeting their transportation needs.

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