Anyone who has watched someone pull a bonehead maneuver on the road only to pull up next to the driver and see that he or she is on a cell phone can attest that it’s hard to multi-task while driving. And given the uphill battle to get people out of cars and using mass transit, some of the benefits of ditching the car could use some (re)framing. For example:
- Mass transit cuts down on the opportunity cost of transit. It frees the rider up to do anything, from preparing for the day at work to just getting your head together or decompressing after a stressful day, instead of having to be alert and focus on yet another task: navigating rush-hour traffic.
- Mass transit is the logical next step in an industrialized society, since it furthers the division of labor by allocating the task of moving people around to those who are best at it. Not everyone is a great driver.
- Mass transit has none of the overhead costs present in cars.
- You can’t sleep and drive across the country at the same time.
Granted, there are some things inherent in driving that are irreplaceable and not transferable to mass transit. There’s a certain romance about driving from coast to coast, and a certain excitement that comes from shifting a manual transmission into fourth gear. The majority of driving, though, is neither of these. It’s mundane, point-A-to-point-B drudgery through rush-hour traffic, which mass transit can easily match or improve upon.