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News ::
Sustainable Mobility Report
20 Dec 2001
Went to MIT today for a presentation by Prof David Marks on
"Reinventing the Wheel: Facing the Problem of Sustainable Mobility." Seems MIT was part of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development's recent project on the future of sustainable mobility.
The full report is available at

Marks began by saying that the study convinced him that sustainable mobility, a sustainable transportation system is probably not possible. Everywhere around the world, rising income means more cars as people want more speed and more "effective" travel. There are some possibilities for sustainability in the idea of freight mobility which makes up about 43% of the energy used in transportation. About 1/3 of Co2 comes from the transportation sector. (Transportation uses about one third of energy, industrial uses account for another third, and commercial and household uses make up the last third - as a general rule of thumb.)

Prof Marks was unfortunately called away and a colleague, David Bayliss I believe, was pressed into duty to finish the presentation. Seems that around the world, throughout the developed and undeveloped world, mobility/transportation takes about an hour and a half a day and 15% of income. Remarkable that it doesn't change from village to urban center.

This study was sponsored by 11 companies, mostly automobile
manufacturers and oil companies with a couple of tire manufacturers thrown in. When I brought up the fact that a few of the sponsors were convicted of illegal collusion in buying up and then shutting down public transportation systems around the USA in the late 40s and early 50s (GM was found guilty and fined $5000 as I recall), Mr Bayliss chided me that talking about "they" and "them" was not productive and polarizing.

I walked out of there thinking "wotta buncha hooey" and reminding myself of the story of the scorpion trying to cross the river or the Oscar Brown Jr song, "The Snake."

"Take me in, pretty woman.
Take me in, said the snake...."

But then, I am well-known as being negative and cynical.
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