Sep 19, 2017

Cities need to make the car obsolete

Walking in London. Photo: Frank Augstein / AP

In London, owning a car is becoming increasingly pointless. While London is far from perfect, it has been working hard to ween us off car usage.

The bottom line: As Americans rebuild cities hit by the recent hurricanes, they should do so in a way that makes owning a car unnecessary in major U.S. cities, too.

Car-share schemes allow me to find and book a car on my phone, and park it in any type of bay for free. I have a folding bike I can carry on public transport or in a taxi. We now have Cycle Superhighways – protected bike lanes running across the city. Employees get tax breaks on bicycles.

The subway in London works well, and carries 1.37 billion people per year. At rush hour, trains come every 1 minute. London buses are clean, and taken by everyone. Public transport data is open-sourced, so apps like CityMapper show me exactly how to connect all these transport options.

This is made possible through public sector investment into public transport and government-managed schemes to incentivize or discourage certain behaviors. We are discouraged from driving into Central London by Congestion Charging of $15 a day, and parking fees as high as $10 an hour. Congestion charging reduced pollutants in London's air by up to 20% in the first 1 to 2 years, and saw nearly 40% more people taking the bus.

Go deeper

Protests for George Floyd continue for 10th day

Thousands of protesters march over the Brooklyn Bridge on June 4 in New York City. Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

All four former Minneapolis police officers have been charged for George Floyd’s death and are in custody, including Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, who were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

The latest: Crowds gathered in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on Thursday evening and in Atlanta, Georgia, despite the rain. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms joined demonstrators on Thursday. Demonstrators in Washington, D.C. dispersed following a thunderstorm and rain warning for the region.

Trump says he will campaign against Lisa Murkowski after her support for Mattis

Trump with Barr and Meadows outside St. John's Episcopal church in Washington, D.C. on June 1. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Thursday that he would endorse "any candidate" with a pulse who runs against Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

Driving the news: Murkowski said on Thursday that she supported former defense secretary James Mattis' condemnation of Trump over his response to protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing. She described Mattis' statement as "true, honest, necessary and overdue," Politico's Andrew Desiderio reports.

2 hours ago - World

The president vs. the Pentagon

Trump visits Mattis and the Pentagon in 2018. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty

Over the course of just a few hours, President Trump was rebuffed by the Secretary of Defense over his call for troops in the streets and accused by James Mattis, his former Pentagon chief, of trampling the Constitution for political gain.

Why it matters: Current and former leaders of the U.S. military are drawing a line over Trump's demand for a militarized response to the protests and unrest that have swept the country over the killing of George Floyd by police.