Monday, June 4, 2007

Some Thoughts on Rapid Mass Transit

I love rapid mass transit, but I fear that most people think that rapid mass transit involves trains and subways and empty buses. It does not.

Why settle for speed less than 100 mph when the speed of light is available? Why move atoms when you can move electrons? Why try to re-engineer the American suburb when you can take advantage of its existing structures? Why not telecommute?

Growing up in Atlanta, I learned that building new roads does not solve congestion problems; however, I don't think that building new rails will fix it either. People don't want to live in dense neighborhoods as much as they want to have some privacy, safety, and good public schools. In other words, people love suburbs.

Oddly enough, most suburban homes are big (and getting bigger). Many have room to house a home office, which sure is convenient. Instead of attempting a social experiment, why not just give employees the ability to do what they already can do: work from home.

Business- consider letting your employees telecommute at least some of the time. The costs in time, transportation, and all the ancillary costs of being away from home represent potential savings to employers everywhere. You can pay a stay-at-home worker less.

And to all of you who would chase people out of the suburbs--be careful. Rarely will you find the way forward by trying to go back in time.

Check out this article. I think it's spot on.

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