Elephants in the Road
How Climate Chaos, the Safety Crisis, and the Rise of Autonomous Vehicles Will Shape the Future of Humboldt County’s Transportation System, and What We Need to Do About It
Three major phenomena are shaping the future of the transportation system in Humboldt County and nationwide: climate chaos, autonomous vehicles, and the road safety crisis (particularly for non-vehicular road users). These phenomena will only grow in importance and influence in the decades to come. Yet today, as transportation officials at every level continue to repair and maintain our existing transportation system and draft plans for the future, these phenomena are often relegated to the status of minor considerations, or are ignored completely. This approach, if continued, will leave local communities constantly in a reactive or defensive mode, responding to the whims of large profit-seeking corporations and distant governments in Silicon Valley, Wall Street, Sacramento and Washington, DC, and to the vicissitudes of mother nature, always a step or two behind the curve. In order to take control of the future of our transportation system—the life-blood of our society and economy—local communities need to plan proactively, starting now, and quickly embody their priorities in pavement and paint. CRTP’s report lays out the extensive evidence supporting the need for immediate action to address these three phenomena, and suggests data-driven strategies and actions to adopt in Humboldt County.