Gleaned the dialogue (both the online and offline) generated by the column “The Problem with ‘Mass’ Transit” are the following observations:

It is important to keep in mind several axioms that can be distilled from the principles found in The Shape of the Future:

• Limiting citizen’s access erodes quality of life, eliminating the need for a vehicle to achieve access enhances quality of life.

• Eliminating the ability to make trips erodes citizen’s quality of life, eliminating the necessity of making vehicle trips (except for joy-rides and touring places like Tuscany, Bavaria and the Alsace) enhances quality of life.

• Shared-vehicles are more efficient and provide access to more destinations than private vehicles due to the space required to move and park private vehicles.

• Shared-vehicles can support a much higher flux and diversity of the sort of places that citizens need and want to be, Autonomobility disaggregates origins and destinations of vehicle trips and thus creates dysfunctional settlement patterns.

• Balanced Communities create places where citizens are already where they want and need to be.

It is also important to understand as documented in our three columns on settlement patterns starting with “Wild Abandonment” 8 Sept 2003 at db4.dev.baconsrebellion.com that:

  • The market values on property in the Untied States demonstrate without fail that citizens most highly value those places that meet the criteria for viable components of Balanced Communities.
  • Citizens are willing to pay far more for functional places on a square foot basis than for places that required vehicle trips to get everywhere they want or need to be.
  • Viewed from the perspective of maintaining a democracy with a market economy, desirable mobility options are far different than when viewed from the perspective of traditional transportation agencies geared to providing a vehicle (private or shared) for every desired trip.
  • Business-As-Usual makes money from building and running big, expensive vehicles (private or shared) and the systems to support them. BAUI agents never fail to attack any alternative.

It will require a broad understanding of these axioms and relationships before citizens can move beyond providing for homes, places to work and places to seek services, recreation and amenity for Jim Bacon’s Pod People.

Also note the “Housewatch” column by Katherine Salant on page F 5 (Real Estate Section) in the Saturday 20 May WaPo. “Today’s Housing Model Is Unsustainable for the Long Haul.” Now that the builders of houses in dysfunctional locations are desperate to advertise, WaPo can run this sort of column without fear of the advertisers boycotting the paper. Look for BAUI agents to attack.


Share this article


(comments below)


(comments below)



  1. Ray Hyde Avatar
    Ray Hyde

    Eliminating the need for a vehicle to provide access enahances quality of life only if a) the access is equivalent in every respect, and b) the vehicle isn’t desired for some other purposes.

    Eliminating the necessity for making vehicle trips enhances quality of life only so long as you don’t need to carry anything back when you return.

    Shared vehicles are almost never more efficient and they are always slower than private vehicles. Shared vehicles have to be parked somewhere, too, and the availabilty is always less than a private vehicle.

    Shared vehicles may support a higher flux and diversity of the sort that some citizens need and want.

    Just because communities are balanced doesn’t mean that people won’t wish they were someplace else (Like Tuscany). Those wishes will always tend to unbalance.

    The prices for some urban spaces indicates a)a shortage of those types of spaces and b)those types of places are more expensive to build. This in no way generalizes to the idea that all citizens most highly value those places. Many people (and entire markets) make entirely different value assessments.

    Studies have shown time and again that people make rational economic trade offs with regard to the combination of living and travel expenses. Some citizens pay more to travel less, others don’t.

    Business as usual makes money providing what people want and can afford: maintaining a democracy in a market economy requires that people be able to freely elect how and where they spend their time and money.

    It may well be that today’s housing model is unsustainable for the long haul. Both short term and long term adjustments will have to be made. At present there is no evidence that what you call functional locations are a bit more sustainable than other locations.

    One measure of sustainability that has been proposed is that an area use no more energy than is available from the sunlight that falls on it. By that measure, no place in the US is sustainable except for a few survivalist encampments, maybe. Surely no urban area meets that measure unless you include vast areas of countryside to create the required “balance”. Urban areas can never be balanced without huge investments in the rural areas that support them.

    Virtually nothing anyone is doing is sustainable for the long haul, what we don’t know is how far out that timeline extends. We don’t want to catastrophically blow the budget, but neither do we want to live in penury in order to become billionaires at age 102, either.

    Just because some economic ratios are shifting, doesn’t mean that builders are desperate to advertise, but it does imply that no single answer meets all requirements for all time. Even if we ever manage to build what we think are functional settlement patterns someday, there is no guarantee they will be either balanced or sustainable the day after someday.

    I’ve never met a highly trained BAUI agent, nor seen any documentation on their existence. Perhaps you can introduce me.

  2. Anonymous Avatar

    Around 1970, the US had a population of about 200 million people. This October we will hit 300 million. Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation estimates that, if the compromise amnesty bill S 2611 passes as it stood on Friday, we will add 66 million legal immigrants in the next 20 years. No estimate was given on illegal immigration or births to citizens.

    There is no such thing as “sustainability” for the long haul with population growth like that.

    Deena Flinchum

  3. Anonymous Avatar

    Do you mean locally, nationally, or globally?

  4. Anonymous Avatar

    If the question is meant for me, I am talking locally and nationally with the exception of some local areas that will not be greatly affected because the bulk of the increase is elsewhere inside of the US. Of course, there can be some spill-over.

    As for global “sustainability” there’s not much we can do about that unless we are in a position to actually enforce our concept of the law all over the world. We’re not. Neither is the UN or any other entity.

    However one thing is certain: Once we allow millions of people into the US and set them on a course of legal residency or citizenship, there’s not much we can do about it. Their children born in the US are citizens. They can bring family members in under family re-unification. Later those family members will be in a position to bring in further family members. (The immigrant brings in his wife and children and petitions for his parents and syblings. Later the wife can petition for her parents and syblings. The syblings of the initial immigrant can bring in THEIR spouses and children as can the syblings of the wife and so on over the years. The children can marry abroad and bring in their spouses. They don’t call it “chain migration” for no reason. And please note that in family re-unification, the benefit of the US is not taken into consideration – just the benefit of the immigrant and his relatives.)

    They also can become an informal network for illegal immigrants who come for visits and overstay their visas or who simple come without legal right and stay in the community.

    Deena Flinchum

  5. Anonymous Avatar

    Well, as far as I’m concerned, they are welcome. After all, most of them will vote Republican, if we let them.

    Would you rather have them here working for us, or over there competing against us?

  6. Anonymous Avatar

    As far as the initial amnesty is concerned (current illegal immigrants plus spouses and minor children), the vast majority of immigrants that we are talking about here are low-skilled service (meat-packing, construction, hotel-restaurant, cleaning, health care, etc ) workers with meager educations coming from Latin America, principally Mexico, as would be the families that they are “re-united” with. Let’s leave aside for the time being whether or not that is a good thing or a bad thing: Why do you think that the majority would be voting Republican and how do low-skilled service workers compete against US workers “over there”? IN the US they absolutely do compete; in Mexico or El Salvador, they don’t unless US workers are seeking work there.

    The “guest-workers” will be both skilled and unskilled but the majority of immigrants overall in S 2611 are low-skilled with little formal education. Not only is this not the GOP base (GOP in this case means Gets Out-Pandered by the Democrats) but support for this bill is causing serious unhappiness among the GOP conservative base, unhappiness that could spell losses in 2006 & 2008 if they stay home or vote third-party.

    Deena Flinchum

Leave a Reply