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  • Writer's pictureTim Jackson

Mobility is life - Cars are essential - Soon they will fly!

Updated: Oct 30, 2023

Cars have been a symbol of freedom and independence since their introduction more than 125 years ago. We now see a clear effort by governments globally, as well as transportation planners and advocacy organizations, to make it more difficult for people to buy, own, drive and park cars.

Whether you have noticed it in your own sphere, the war on cars is growing and spreading across the United States and around the world and it will undoubtedly make life more problematic for those wanting or needing to commute and enjoy the recreational opportunities that cars make possible.

Cars have revolutionized transportation, allowing people to travel greater distances in shorter periods of time and have played a crucial role in shaping the modern world. Cars have also been instrumental in driving upward economic mobility, allowing people to access better job opportunities and improve their quality of life.

This book is an examination of how cars have facilitated that upward mobility, even though we still can’t buy ones that fly.

Other modes of getting around are important as well. Mobility is and should always be a matter of personal choice, and it may not necessarily be the form of mobility that government would choose for us.

Cars first

Our free-market economy has been built on the idea that people should have the opportunity to move up the economic ladder and improve their financial position. Cars have significantly contributed to economic mobility by providing access to improved job opportunities. Prior to the automotive revolution, people generally were limited to working near their homes. The widespread adoption of automobiles allowed people to go farther, faster and conveniently to take advantage of employment opportunities in other neighborhoods and beyond.

Cars also enabled people to improve their education and training, crucial ingredients for upward economic mobility. For example, students in rural areas often do not have access to universities or training programs within their reasonable local reach. However, with a car, rural residents can travel to the nearest city to attend a university or education and training programs. This not only improves their chances of getting a better job but also increases their earning potential for their lifetime.

Cars have also fostered entrepreneurialism enabling new business owners to conveniently transport goods and services, their customer base and increasing their revenue, creating an economic domino effect: more revenue prompting business reinvestment, more employees and faster business growth and development.

Cars also allowed freedom to travel and explore the country, sometimes areas that were previously inaccessible, leading to a greater appreciation of the natural world and the cultural diversity of the United States.

In fact, road trips have been a staple of American culture, providing the means and inspiration for people to explore the vast and diverse landscapes of the country. Travel and exploration have inspired generations of artists and writers who have relied on cars. The iconic Route 66, for example, is the subject of countless songs, books and movies, capturing the imagination of people around the world. And who can forget Jack Kerouac’s On the Road? Or the Chevrolet Corvette that starred on television’s Route 66.

Cars have also played a crucial role in the development of suburban communities. Suburban development boomed in the post-World War II years, fueled in part by the availability of cars. With cars, people could live farther away from city centers and still have access to the amenities and services they desired. The creation of suburban neighborhoods was powerfully symbolic of the American dream.

Cars have helped shape the way we interact with our communities. They have enabled us to access community events, participate in local activities and connect with our neighbors. Cars have also opened up volunteer opportunities that contribute to our communities in meaningful ways. Without cars it would be much more difficult to transport food to local food banks, or to drive elderly or disabled members of the community to medical appointments. Without personal vehicles, how would Meals on Wheels volunteers bring food to homebound seniors.

Better job opportunities, education, training and entrepreneurialism all would be out of reach without cars. The natural world and cultural diversity of the United States are made more accessible by car. Without cars, suburban communities that have defined American life would not have been formed.

Cars are more than just a simple transportation or personal mobility; they symbolize freedom and independence and have made possible the American dream. As cars advance with far better safety technology, even enabling them to drive or fly themselves and carry us with them, personal mobility and all the benefits it brings, including freedom and independence, are enhanced.


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