Peter Sawtell’s “Pastoral Perspectives on Transportation” is an excellent short essay about the impact of transportation policy and attitudes in the U.S. on social structure and personal lifestyle choices, outlining some of the “critical themes that undergird the policy decisions,” such as:
- Limited mobility choices evoke fear and anxiety for people who can’t drive because of issues related to aging, lack of finances, limited sight, or other reasons.
- Linking our self-worth to modes of transportation (status of various kinds of cars, lack of status of public transportation, etc.) is a concrete consequence of our materialistic society.
- “Our need for cars — whether for practical mobility or social status — is a central part of our environmental crisis though direct energy use, impacts on climate change, and urban sprawl.”
Sawtell quotes Tom and Ray Magliozzi (the “Car Talk” guys) who wonder “why we have created a society where those without cars cannot live meaningful lives,” and he ends by asking “Shouldn’t we be talking about it in church?”