“To convey from one place to another…” is how the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines transportation (761). For as long as humans have existed on Earth, transportation has been necessary in one form or another. Be it riding a large mammal or cruising at an altitude of 32,000 feet, people have been moving for generations. Throughout the years, advancements in transportation have been consistent. The invention of the wheel was substantial in progressing methods of agriculture and exploration. The steam engine did wonders for industry. And the glorious automobile arrived into the welcoming hands of hard working Americans. But, think for a moment, if there were no cars. The planet would be in better condition if automobiles did not exist. People would experience a decrease in adverse health effects and the environment would not be facing as dire of a future as it currently is.
In 2009, data from the U.S. Department of Energy showed there were 828 vehicles for every 1000 people living in the United States. It also showed that in 1909, there were only 3.45 vehicles per 1000 people (3-5). This significant increase is largely due to high demand by Americans wanting the ease and flexibility of owning their own automobile. There are many benefits to owning a vehicle. Having the freedom to come and go according to one’s individual schedule seems more ideal than following a generalized public schedule and having to wait for others. Daily tasks are less complicated when using a car. Many average Americans might have extreme difficulty giving up their own cars for alternative methods of transportation. George, for example, is an average American who uses his vehicle daily. He drives to his job Monday through Friday. He drives to do his shopping on the weekends. He drives his children to school events, and drives to see relatives in different states. George relies heavily on his car. But what would he do if he did not have a car?
Like many people, George has trouble finding time to get enough physical exercise. His life is full and busy, often leaving him too exhausted for extra activities in the day. If he did not have a vehicle, exercise would be forced into his daily routine. That amount of required exercise on the way to work would increase his metabolism, brighten his mood, and maybe improve George’s productivity during the work day. On his way home, George’s chances of crashing his car do not exist if he does not have one; the risk of hurting others is decreased. As he makes his way home, he utilizes the calories from the sandwich he ate a lunch, and burns the excess from the candy bar in the afternoon. By the end of the day, George will have gotten the recommended daily amount of exercise, and will not feel disappointed by any lack thereof.
Physical exercise is good for the body, but also the mind. Mental health is extremely vital to daily life. If people did not have the isolation of their cars, they would be obliged...