Tag Archives: Curbing Cars

A Present From Dad Spurs A Young Couple’s Decision To Live Car-Free

Couple Curbs Car

When her car broke down this past March, Kayla Crawford took the advice of her boyfriend, Matt Carter, and decided to go car-free.

The dead battery on her 1999 Oldsmobile Aurora was the final straw in a long line of car problems.

“Having a car is insanely expensive,”said  Crawford, who lives with Carter in Mount Pleasant, Mich., home to Central Michigan University and the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe.

With poor gas mileage and a high insurance rate ($180 per month, driving became more of a hassle than a convenience.

Two months ago, the couple received a pair of bikes from Crawford’s father, and they have not looked back.

“It is really exciting to me that I have no other option but to go out and ride my bike,” Crawford said. “It is so much healthier for me and the environment.” Continue reading

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Filed under bicycling, cars, Curbing Cars

Thanks For Making Our EBook Number One!

Curbing Cars (Cover)We’re kicking off the week with some splendid news from Amazon.com. Over the weekend, Curbing Cars: America’s Independence From The Auto Industry ranked as the number one ebook in the Automotive category.

We appreciate your support, and look forward to discussing all our findings with you. We’re fascinated by the drop in driving, and why Americans are turning to a broad spectrum of transportation rather than just rely on cars.

You can find the book here on Amazon and on Apple iTunes.

Meanwhile, here’s the column that Robert Trigaux wrote about the book in Friday’s edition of the Tampa Bay Times. The debate over roads versus light rail is a vivid one in Tampa, the biggest American city without a significant public transportation system.

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Filed under book, Curbing Cars, public transportation

The Recession From Which We May Never Recover

My parents went through the Great Depression. They were thrifty, to say the least, and we were recycling before we knew what the term meant. Curbing Cars (Cover)

Now, we and our children have been through another seminal economic event. Some call it the Great Panic, others the Great Recession.

No matter what you call it, the economic meltdown of 2007-2009 changed a lot of attitudes in the United States, including the way some people feel about the role of automobiles in our lives.

I look at the impact of the recession on driving in our new ebook. While it may not be the top factor why people are “driving light,” it’s definitely one of the considerations that plays into how they view cars.

The changes these consumers made during the worst of the recession have become permanent parts of their lives. Even as the stock market soared in 2013 and 2014, and as some economists declared that America had recovered (statistically at least), the feeling that all could be lost at any moment still resounds in a number of corners.

Read more about the economy and how it changed peoples’ attitudes in this excerpt from the book in Forbes.

You can buy Curbing Cars: America’s Independence From The Auto Industry at Amazon and Apple now.

 

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Filed under book, Driving, economy

EXCERPT: What Will It Take To Get You Back Behind The Wheel?

Millions of people are driving less, and some are even giving up their cars all together. In our new eBook, Curbing Cars: America’s Independence From The Auto Industry,  published Tuesday by Forbes, I make some suggestions on how the auto companies can play a role in the new transportation reality.  Curbing Cars (Cover)

One idea: create a new Model T, a car that that can appeal broadly to the public, and yet be affordable and efficient. That’s critical, given that the average new vehicle now costs around $33,000. Parking, repairs, insurance and maintenance all add up to the expense of owning an automobile.

Here’s what I say in an excerpt on Forbes.com.

“There’s an opportunity for some smart company to build the next car for the masses. There is certainly a precedent for doing so. The original Model T put the car within the reach of the American middle class for the first time, and as cheaper used versions became available, the demographic got pushed down even further to the working class.

From 1910 through 1930, the automobile industry attracted new customers and auto sales boomed. But then there came a 15-year period in which auto sales stalled, first because of the Great Depression, and then because cars weren’t available during World War II.

What happened to revive the American car market? Prosperity returned, of course, but there was also a successor to the Model T that put millions of people into cars they could afford: the Volkswagen Beetle. It was a global, not just American, phenomenon and caught buyers’ attention for a number of reasons. Continue reading

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Filed under book, cars, Curbing Cars

Out Now: The Curbing Cars EBook, Published By Forbes

Curbing Cars (Cover) Curbing Cars: America’s Independence From The Auto Industry is the result of our Kickstarter-funded project looking at why people are driving less. You can buy it now from Amazon.com, on iTunes and other sites where eBooks are sold.

Check back regularly as we post our analysis and predictions about the historic shift in attitudes among Americans about their transportation needs.

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The Results Are In! How You Told Us You’re Getting Around In 2014

More than any other mode of transportation, our Curbing Cars readers get around by walking.

More than any other mode of transportation, our Curbing Cars readers get around by walking.

By Micheline Maynard

Back on New Year’s Day (a mere month and three days ago), we asked our Curbing Cars audience to tell us how you planned to get around in 2014. We got a terrific response and now we’re sharing the results with you.

We’re ambulatory. Most of us still use cars, but not as much as we use other types of transportation in the mix of the ways we get places. The number one way Curbing Cars readers get around is on two feet. Almost 80 percent of respondents say they get around most frequently by walking. That was followed by public transportation, used by 69.7 percent; cars, used by 58.1 percent and other modes of transportation, which included running, Zipcars or car sharing programs, and taxis.

Several people told us that they use of a mix of transportation in a single day. “I walk to work every day, bus in bad weather, bike for some errands in spring/summer/fall. use my car mainly for weekend shopping and for getting out of town,” replied one survey participant.

In fact, I’m doing more walking this winter in Phoenix, where I’m a Reynolds Visiting Professor of Business Journalism at the Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State. I walk to school every day from my home downtown, and I’ve walked to the farmer’s market, the movies, to drinks and dinner, and to the Phoenix Opera in the month since I’ve been here. Even though I walked frequently in Ann Arbor, I am doing even more daily walking here. (And of course, the weather is much better…)

We’re pleased with our choices. People seem to be pretty satisfied with the mix of the ways they get places. About 60 percent of you said you were happy with your transportation mix. About 24 percent said they’d like to change it, and the rest said they would like to change it, but couldn’t for various reasons. Continue reading

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Filed under bicycling, bike sharing, car sharing, cars, Curbing Cars, Driving, Poll, public transportation, Uncategorized, walking

Millennials: Tell Us Your Transportation Stories For Our Ebook

By Micheline Maynard

We’re hard at work on the first Curbing Cars eBook, which is scheduled to be published this spring. We’d like to include stories about millennials and the way you use transportation.

Did you put off getting a driver’s license, or did you get in line as soon as you could? Do you see a car as something that’s too expensive, or are you a car buff? Are you cycling or skateboarding or using public transportation? Or, do you have to drive to get where you need to go?

Join our stable of writers,

Millennials: share your stories.

How important is technology to you? Is your mobile device more important to you than your car?

If you are 30 or under, and would like to share your thoughts, please email us at curbingcars@gmail.com. Put Millennials in the subject line. Share a few transportation thoughts so we’ll know how to categorize you. Include your name, city, telephone number, Skype ID if you have one, and the best time to get in touch.

We only want people whose names can be used in the book, and we will verify your info to make sure you are who you say you are. Please respond by Feb. 14.

Thanks, and we’re looking forward to hearing from you.

P.S. for our non-millennial readers, we’ll be looking for your stories as well. Stay tuned for our request.

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Filed under Curbing Cars, Poll

We Want To Hear Your Stories. Write For Curbing Cars

We've had student written stories from all over the country. Join our stable of writers,

We’ve had student written stories from all over the country. Join our stable of writers.

Curbing Cars is telling stories of how people are rethinking the way they get around. And who better to tell those stories than you?

We offer these opportunities for you to write for us. Send your ideas to curbingcars@gmail.com. All submissions should be 500 words or less. We welcome photos and video. Include a phone number in case we have questions.

Before you pitch us a story, read the Columbia Journalism Review cover story about us.  Also, take a look at our site so that you don’t duplicate a story we’ve already written. We also do not accept stories that you have written for other publications, except your own blog.

Here are the categories where you can write for us. (Note: we only pay for student-written stories.) Continue reading

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Filed under Bike Share Review, My Transportation Diary, student stories

It’s Not Car Culture Any More, It’s Phone Culture

By Micheline Maynard

The Columbia Journalism Review gave us a forum this month to talk about Curbing Cars. Its editors also weighed in on the way mainstream media covers the transportation story.

Curbing Cars is featured in the November/December issue of Columbia Journalism Review

Curbing Cars is featured in the November/December issue of Columbia Journalism Review

It notes that the automobile industry spends $14.8 billion (yes, with a “b”) on advertising last year, making it the second biggest category behind technology and communications. Cars are the single-biggest television category.

Given that, it’s no wonder that newspapers, magazines and TV networks lavish coverage on the car companies. But that’s happening at a time when the public is turning away from automobiles as a preoccupation to many other activities.

“Much of transportation coverage, meanwhile, remains stalled in the 20th century,” CJR writes in this editorial.

“We cover Detroit as though it were 1993, not 2013. A story about transportation infrastructure typically means the sorry condition of bridges and roadways. In 2011, Businessjournalism.org published a “How-to” column about covering transportation that could have been written 30 years ago.” Continue reading

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Curbing Cars Featured On The Cover Of Columbia Journalism Review

Curbing Cars is featured in the November/December issue of Columbia Journalism Review

Curbing Cars is featured in the November/December issue of Columbia Journalism Review

By Micheline Maynard

We all know rock stars want to be on the cover of Rolling Stone. But for journalists, the equivalent is to be on the cover of the Columbia Journalism Review.

Well, here we are. Curbing Cars is featured in the November/December issue of CJR, which is arriving with subscribers and appearing on newstands now.

Here’s how it came about, This summer, while Curbing Cars was in the middle of our Kickstarter campaign, I got a call from an editor at CJR. Would I be interested in writing a cover story for the magazine on the thesis behind our project, he asked?

The article  lays out the reasons I became interested in writing about why people are rethinking the way they get around. It also talks about how the story isn’t being covered in a comprehensive way by most mainstream media, although there are plenty of places to find information on the Web and from some smart journalists.

Think of this as the Curbing Cars Manifesto, a term I’m borrowing from my friend Barry Sorkin at Smoque BBQ in Chicago. (Barry’s uncle and Smoque partner Al Sherman was actually one of the first people to back our Kickstarter.) It touches on many of the topics we’ll be exploring in-depth in our upcoming eBook.

I’d love to get your thoughts about the cover, the ideas behind our project, and whether you’re rethinking the use of your car. Even if you still are a fan of automobiles, and can’t imagine your life without one, your ideas are most welcome, too. And if you’re so moved, click on the “Donate” button on the right side of our site and help us keep up our work.

You can read the cover story here.

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