This blog is an archive of my thoughts on personal transportation and urban life.

The shapes of our cities, how we spend our time, how we interact with our neighbors and families, how we meet people, how we spend our money, and a litany of other largely unexamined aspects of our lives, are all greatly affected by the modes of transportation we choose.

I wish to study our cultural transportation habits and analyze their very real and daily effects that we all experience. The effects can be as big as the 40,000 or so deaths that occur on U.S. highways each year or as small as how fresh our bread is. That’s right, the layout and transportation habits of the Dutch, mean that they have fresher bread than us, here in the USA.

But the purpose of this blog is not about choosing one mode of transportation or a single city layout that is best. It is about identifying what characteristics make communities, neighborhoods, towns, and cities attractive places to live and work.

Just to be clear, I do have my biases. I don’t like suburban sprawl, I don’t like traffic, and I believe in global warming (quite controversial I know). If you disagree with these things and/or dislike the writings of Jane Jacobs, David Owen, David Byrne, or Tom Vanderbilt (in no particular order), you probably won’t like me either. Although, I would love to hear from you. If you don’t know who any of those people are, that’s OK, I didn’t know them until very recently. As stated in my ME page, I am an electrical engineer by training, and a smart transportation enthusiast by choice.

Anyway, enough rambling, it is time for me to start posting.

My general opinion in photos:

This is Bad.

This is Good.


11 Responses to “About”

  1. Stanislav Kalachev, Mobile Telesystems, Krasnodar, Russa December 28, 2011 at 3:59 am #

    Hi Derek, I really like your idea and this is a great topic for discussion.

    In most cases the system of public transportation is depends on habits of living. For example, here in Southern Russia we have very high dense population, but still about 50% of the population is living outside of big cities. Income level is quite high in compare to different regions in Russia and the public transportation is widely spread. It means you can go to the most places without having a car and even a car license. I am talking about city and intercity transportation. In some rural an areas bicycle (but in some places 4×4 vehicle) the best mean of transportation to get to a desired destination in a small settlements. When you live in a big city the distance between your home, stores, schools, kinder gardens is in a walking range. When you live in a suburban area in most cases you do not have this kind of infrastructure next door, and you have to use either your car or public transport.

    In many places in a world before you buying a car you should think of where you will park it, drop during the night. When you live in overpopulated areas it becomes a problem. Look at the European towns, in most cases they are very old, and were build many years before the car was invented. The big American cars on small tiny streets of old Europe will look an elephant in a dishes store, because there will be no room for them.

    Many cities can be walked through in an hour or two, having a car is complicated, and the public transport is a solution…

  2. 35andupcynicismonhold January 27, 2012 at 11:01 am #

    hello, there… 🙂

    you have a rather interesting site. i intend to go back here. but why don’t i see the subscribe via email menu? :c

    btw, am a fan of jane jacobs, her livable cities advocacy and her writings. 🙂

  3. an.ha January 27, 2012 at 2:50 pm #

    Hello Derek,

    have you heard of Our Future Mobility Now (OFMN)? OFMN is an initiative created by the ACEA, the European Car Manufacturers Association, to share ideas about the future of transportation and mobility. The website of OFMN can be reached at http://www.futuremobilitynow.com/. At the moment several OEM companies are setting up interactive webcasts about different topics, e.g. Toyota about urban mobility. You can also take a look at the book of ideas at http://www.futuremobilitynow.com/book-of-ideas-2/ – a book that has been created by 46 young people from all parts of Europe during an kick-off event in Brussels, Belgium. I was one of the so called delegates that took part in the creation of the book 😉
    I hope these links are interesting for you.

    Kind regards and all the best,


  4. administrator January 27, 2012 at 3:09 pm #

    Really cool idea for a blog. We are the transatlantic diablog recently having a series called “What’s Up For 2012?”. Would be cool to have you as one of the people who are interviewed on what to expect from the year. Contact us if you like to: http://transatlanticdiablog.wordpress.com/you-and-the-diablog/

  5. sophieark January 29, 2012 at 6:26 am #

    I love your blog! I am very happy to find something which really talks about the things I have always cared about!! ~ cars, bikes, walking, transportation issues, urban sprawl, fresh bread, waste, population etcetera. Bravo 🙂

  6. Rhonda Riachi January 29, 2012 at 12:02 pm #

    Thanks for this, Derek. Do you know about the Healthy Cities network? Restricting car use and encouraging cycling and walking are key parts of the actions recommended. Lots of links to other organisations too:

  7. f-stop mama January 29, 2012 at 4:15 pm #

    So wonderful to meet another person who thinks like myself. Great blog and I look forward to your next post! Congrats on being Freshly Pressed. This is another reason I love blogging, great material like this makes its way out to the masses.

  8. gerard oosterman January 29, 2012 at 5:01 pm #

    The best way to tackle the car and its imposition on peoples lives is too push the disadvantages of the metal box on rotating wheels back onto itself. Make the driving of the car expensive, do away with its exorbitant over the top part of the economy.
    In The Netherlands and during the oil crisis of 1974/75 the driving of cars was limited to being allowed to drive only every second day with a system of even and uneven registration numbers, and Sundays were car free. It worked like a dream and had amazing little impact on peoples lives. In fact, it became the catalyst in pushing the car back to a much more modest and acceptable level.
    In Amsterdam they are slowly taking parking spaces for cars away and replacing those with trees. If you want to live in Amsterdam you can’t have a car except by leaving the car well away from where you live.
    Of course, with this punishing regime on the metal box, the government has been spending big on public transport. A win win for The Netherlands.
    Here in Australia as I suspect is the case in the US, a low taxation pared with the manically adherance to the mantra of ‘ letting The Market’ decide everything, it becomes a jungle and people just get obese from spending entire lives sitting in a metal box rolling around aimlessly…
    We make choices, don’t we?

  9. gerard oosterman January 31, 2012 at 12:36 am #

    You might also like to read about SUV’s in general and traffic in particular in an article published (written by me) in Australia’s National Broadcaster. The ABC

  10. gerard oosterman January 31, 2012 at 12:37 am #

    Sorry, I forgot the link: http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/3802912.html#comments

  11. Kelly Dycavinu February 3, 2012 at 12:04 am #

    I’m glad you were recently freshly pressed. I’m enjoying the content of your site and the new perspectives you contribute. The topics you mention above (the shapes of our cities, how we spend our time, how we interact with our neighbors and families, how we meet people, how we spend our money) have been of interest to me in terms of what contributes to healthy relationships/communities. Now, to consider the role that transit may play is quite interesting… if only I had a thousand brains I would be able to tackle a thousand PhD’s. I’ll stick to my studies in literature and religion… and reap the benefit of your studies through this blog. Thanks so much!

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