Monthly Archives: July 2013

Curbing Cars: As Seen In Monday’s New York Times

By Micheline Maynard

You’ve come to the right place. This is the Curbing Cars project that was mentioned in Monday’s New York Times Wheels blog.

Jim Motavalli looks at the University of Michigan study that says driving has been declining in the United States since 2004. There are a number of reasons, which make up what we’re studying at Curbing Cars, and Jim called to ask me about it.

Here’s some of what I had to say:

In an interview, Micheline Maynard, former Detroit bureau chief for The New York Times and author of a coming book called “Curbing Cars: Rethinking How We Get Around,” said, “Driving is definitely down, though I would certainly not say the auto industry is going away. I think it can maintain 15-million annual sales years in the United States for some time to come, although some people were predicting we’d be at 20 million vehicles by now.”

If you’re interested in this all-important subject, please support our Kickstarter, which is providing seed money for our ebook and research. We’d also love to hear your personal stories about driving less. And thanks.

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Filed under Curbing Cars, Driving, Kickstarter

10 Big Transportation Ideas We’re Exploring At Curbing Cars

Photo courtesy of The Hubway.

Photo courtesy of The Hubway.

By Micheline Maynard

The Curbing Cars project is looking at one of the biggest changes in North American society in the past century: rethinking our use of automobiles.

We’re starting with an ebook. You can help by making a pledge to our Kickstarter. We’ve already heard from almost 50 people who believe in what we’re doing.

But maybe you aren’t familiar with what’s happening beyond your community. You’ve never rented a Zipcar, or taken a ride on a Citi Bike. As for walking to the office, that’s not going to happen.

Over the next few days, we’ll talk about the 10 Big Transportation Ideas we’re exploring at Curbing Cars. That will help you get a handle on our work, and understand how significantly things are changing.

1) People are driving less.
According to a new University of Michigan study, the number of miles driven in the United States is down 5 percent since it peaked in 2006. The average miles driven per driver, the average distance, and the number of vehicle driven per vehicle are all down. Continue reading

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Filed under Curbing Cars, Driving

Bikes In Paris, Streetcars in Minneapolis, Sharing Rides In San Francisco

A Velib station in Paris. Photo via Wiki Images.

A Velib station in Paris. Photo via Wiki Images.

Paris is the world’s top city for bike sharing. A Velib is checked out every minute of every day. And, there’s one bike for every 87 Parisians.

Minneapolis is thinking about putting streetcars back in service, and it’s just one of a number of cities around the world that are embracing new public transit programs.

Were you caught by the BART strike in San Francisco, and checked out Uber for the first time? Maybe you used it to get home when the subway flooded in Toronto this summer.

These are the kinds of stories that Curbing Cars is covering. We’ve made it our mission to tell you how people are rethinking how they get around.

You can find Curbing Cars all over the place: on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and our new Jalopnik blog. Soon, we’re going to publish our Curbing Cars ebook, where we’ll all these things and come to some predictions about what they mean for the future of transportation.

Won’t you support our Kickstarter? We’d like to reach our $10,000 goal by Aug. 12. That’s not much time. But we can get there with your help. Click here to make a pledge. Continue reading

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Filed under bike sharing, Curbing Cars, Kickstarter, public transportation, ride sharing

POLL: Tell Us How You’re Rethinking Your Transportation Use

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Introducing The Curbing Cars EBook Kickstarter

By Micheline Maynard

We’re proud to announce the Curbing Cars project on Kickstarter. We’re asking for your support to fund the Curbing Cars Ebook, which we expect will be published in early 2014. Please check it out here. Kickstarter logo

Our Kickstarter has some fun rewards, but most of all, we’re using it as a way to hear from you. The stories you tell us and the ideas that you give us will make the Curbing Cars Ebook an even richer experience.

We know people are driving less, and finding alternatives to owning automobiles. It might be a fad, but it also might be a sea change. The Curbing Cars Ebook will look at what this means for us economically, socially, environmentally and industrially. What will the new role be for the car companies? What are our expectations from city planners? And, can people get back on bicycles if they haven’t ridden since they were kids?

Please take a look at our Kickstarter. It will be live until Monday, August 15. We thank you with all our hearts for your support.

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Curbing Cars On Social Media

Want to follow us? Here’s where. CurbingCarsLogo2.png

  • @CurbingCars is our Twitter handle.
  • We’re on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CurbingCars
  • And our Tumbler can be found at http://curbingcars.tumblr.com/

Drop by!

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Welcome To Curbing Cars!

Curbing Cars LogoBy Micheline Maynard

For more than a century, automobiles have been at the center of American life. They provided mobility, freedom, pizzazz and of course, millions of jobs. Since the Great Recession, however, people have begun to rethink the ways they get around.

Some are simply driving less, or switching from big vehicles to smaller ones. Others are downsizing their family fleets, either because their kids have moved out, or they can’t afford as many vehicles.  People are trying out bike sharing programs, like the ones in New York, Chicago and very soon, San Francisco. Car sharing systems and ride sharing systems are growing in popularity.

Nobody is quite sure yet whether this is a fad or a significant social change. But Curbing Cars is making it our mission to find out.

Welcome to our project. We’d like to know whether you’re changing the way you get around, or just wonder what it means for the auto industry. Come back any time to share your ideas.

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