Although I sometimes think that the focus on global warming risks focusing too much on one environmental issue, reducing carbon emissions, to the exclusion of others with an extremely high urgency, like environmental pollution that contributes to water-borne diseases in third world countries, or toxic chemicals in soils around the world, there are many opportunities to deal with both environmental pollution and global warming issues.
The biggest opportunity to address both in one strategy is the reduction of carbon from vehicle emissions into the air. Better fuel economy, reduced driving, and reduced emissions improve air quality, reduce traffic congestion, reduce asthma from bad air, and reduce the carbon footprint of driving.
That is one of the reasons we have advocated substituting remote commerce for face-to-face commerce relative to citizen interactions with government and other private sector transactional activity that reduces unnecessary vehicle trips. What are some of the “no-brainers” here?
- Why not eliminate all toll plazas and substitute either E-Z-Pass-type solutions or photos that capture a driver’s license plate number and result in a bill being sent to the driver? The highest emissions come from car engines running at low or idling speeds, as opposed to 55-mile-an-hour travel. Why do we keep toll plazas in place? For example, Ireland, which I visited this past week, is on the way to eliminating them. (more…)