With gas prices fluctuating so much over the last year and expected to only increase, it is no wonder that the auto industry has suffered. Add to that, the current recession, an increased focus on the environment and a newfound love for public transit, and you begin to wonder whether the auto industry will ever recover.
It’s odd to imagine the auto industry being in such a predicament, since it has been an important part of this country’s ability to thrive economically and, a huge part of its identity. Despite this country’s love affair with the automobile, though, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the industry’s slump will not simply pickup once the economy rights itself. For example, even after the aforementioned volatile gas prices plunged significantly, public transit ridership numbers across the country remained high. This is proof that people are becoming more aware of the various benefits associated with not driving, such as alleviating stress, increasing exercise by walking more often and limiting their carbon footprint.
Although a long-time foe of General Motors (GM), documentary filmmaker Michael Moore, who gained notoriety for his movie Roger and Me, which examined the impact GM’s downsizing of its plant had in his hometown of Flint, Mich., recently proposed an idea that now may be the time for the automaker to cease making cars and instead use its facilities to make energy efficient clean buses and railcars. The move would have plenty of benefits, including keeping thousands of GM autoworkers employed and helping provide this country with a flourishing industry that promotes both economic growth and environmental consciousness. With the landscape of this country increasingly changing and forecasted to change even more in the next 25 years with population growth and the like, isn’t it time to start thinking ahead and promoting the sort of ideas that put us in position to be well prepared for the future?
It drives me nuts when people litter. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people throw trash out of their car windows while they’re driving. I’m always tempted to honk my horn when I see drivers slyly ditching cigarette butts through their open window. Listen up, people. We see you!
Agencies that use Twitter to respond to users’ complaints or answer questions get more positive Twitter reaction and more civil discourse online, according to Lisa Schweitzer the author of a recent study analyzing tweets of public transit agencies. “It’s about the marketing potential of social media — a lot of public transit agencies are simply tweeting their problems to the world by blasting out late service announcements. That’s not a good use of Twitter,” she says. “Transit agencies can influence the tone of the discussion by interacting with patrons online,” Schweitzer explains. “It gives people something to respond to, and it reminds people that somebody is listening.”
Usually by early January, I will hopefully have taken down the last of our holiday decorations and eaten or given away the remaining sweets that have become a part of my regular diet during the month of December. Then, of course like most people, I’ll think about ways I want to improve myself for the coming year. Whether it be exercising more (walking from the parking lot to my office doesn’t count), eating less ice cream or managing my email better. The latter practice alone would help improve my efficiency at work immensely. I’m sure you probably feel the same way.
A new National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) study solidifies what the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) Transit Savings Report has been telling us for years now: riding public transportation can save users money.
June 20 will mark the 8th annual National Dump the Pump Day sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association, in partnership with the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council.