America's infrastructure is getting old, and its degradation has been documented for more than a decade now. Washington D.C. is even contemplating shutting down it's metro system, which, though less than half as old as New York's subway, is in need of such significant repair and maintenance that some fear it would require a months-long rehab project.
That's mainly because America isn't investing in its aging systems of water and sewer systems, roads, bridges and transit, opines John Rennie Short for Tech Insider. The U.S. is ranked 16th globally for its infrastructure. According to the White House, Americans spend $120 billion each year in extra fuel and lost time due to public transit's closures, accidents and inefficiencies.
Short offers a few reasons for the dilapidation of America's public transit systems, mostly blaming the growth in use of the private car and urban design focusing on motorists instead of pedestrians. For example, he cites fuel prices and restricted land use that kept population growth centered around transportation in Europe.
Many of us, it seems, have lost faith in the public realm. The private car is the embodiment of U.S. individualism. The decline of our cities' infrastructure is one expression of loss of faith in the public realm as a place of beauty and efficiency and an embodiment of what one journalist refers to as “our anger and our pessimism.”
There is some room for optimism. A series of reports highlight the advantage of investing more in public transport. And as more people want to live in cities in dense walkable neighborhoods, the demand for public transport is increasing.
And millennials lack their parents' and grandparents' love affair with the automobile. We may be at the cusp of a generational shift in attitudes to the car and mass transit. Cities and cars were never a good fit, something more people appear to be realizing.