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Right answer to the wrong question

Yesterday I wrote a post on why Norway loves Tesla Motors. The lesson was that if you want people to adopt sustainability, just make it cheaper. But here’s something to ponder: Are electric vehicles the right answer to the wrong question? (Jeff Speck in Walkable City)

Now, don’t get me wrong, I think electric vehicles are great. They’re certainly better than gas vehicles from a sustainability standpoint. But is the ideal city of the future one where everyone is driving around in electric vehicles? Or is it one where the majority of people walk, bike and take transit? It’ll likely be a mixture of both scenarios, but I think it’s important for cities to know where they want to go.

Switching from gas to electric solves some problems, but it doesn’t solve all of them. Traffic congestion and lost productivity, for example, don’t go away. So I would say that electric vehicles are part of the right answer—but there’s still lots of other work to be done.

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