Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Take the Streetcar

In many cities around the world, streetcars provide important in-town transportation services. Whether they are the old-time trolleys like there are in New Orleans, or the modern light-rail vehicles like the ones in Philadelphia, they provide an important part of moving people around a city. They are almost all electric. That means power to move the vehicles is generated from a central source and transmitted by wires or conduit to the individual streetcars. Using this method means that emissions from the power generating plant can be scrubbed clean before hitting the atmosphere. Think about it. A power plant that is stationary can have a maximum amount of emission cleaning equipment on it. An automobile on the street has very little in the way of air-purifying equipment. You wouldn't stand behind a car and breathe exhaust fumes. Then, why do we allow millions of cars to pollute our atmosphere? Electric streetcars have no emissions. It makes a lot of sense to put a lot of electric trolleys in the streets and make it super-convenient for people to take public transportation. Get rid of automobiles, put in streetcars.