In the Seattle Times, Danny Westneat hits the nail on the head, making much the same point that Clark made a few days ago about the traffic apocalypse-that-wasn’t. Westneat also adds this:
In 1998, British researchers studied what happened to traffic in more than 100 highway and bridge shutdowns in Europe and the U.S. They found that on average 25 percent of all car trips simply evaporated. People still went to work. Some commuters drove, some found another way in. Some other trips were just not made.
It’s definitely worth reading the whole piece.
And behind the soon-to-be-history paywall at the New York Times, Thomas Friedman points out that energy efficiency is properly considered a source of energy. We can treat it that way by changing the way utilities operate and other smart features (that Sightline has long advocated for) including things like smart grid and decoupling. This about sums it up:
Mr. Rogers’s proposal is based on three simple principles. The first is that the cheapest way to generate clean, emissions-free power is by improving energy efficiency. Or, as he puts it, “The most environmentally sound, inexpensive and reliable power plant is the one we don’t have to build because we’ve helped our customers save energy.”
I think there’s a common theme here. Sometimes the best solutions aren’t about doing more with more; they’re about doing better by being smart about how we use our current resources.