Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Tragedy of the Commons

According to Wikipedia, The tragedy of the commons is an economics theory by Garrett Hardin, according to which individuals behave contrary to the whole group's long-term best interests by depleting some common resource.

The original example was common grazing land - all the commoners could buy more cattle to graze there, so they all did, resulting in over-grazing resulting in the cattle dying.

I think it now applies to roadspace - anyone can own a car, so too many do. People are reluctant to drive somewhere, if they fear it will be difficult to find a parking space there. Motorists even object to those that use less space, fearing they move more slowly.

The same applies to width of car, as well as number of cars.
I have heard it said that cars are wider, on average, now than in the seventies : does anyone have any evidence ?

I don't know that this line of thinking leads to any solutions, or even improvements - we can just bemoan man's inhumanity to man.

A specific example is that people don't feel it is safe to let children walk or cycle to school, because of the peak of traffic (and poor driving standards) that occurs at school-time. Of course the traffic consists largely of parents driving their children to school !


Similarly, riding a recumbent bike, I get hassle from drivers of vehicles like Range-Rovers. "You're so low down that I can't see you". It begins to sound like "I drive a tank to protect me from bad drivers, so I can't see what's around me." People considering their own safety, not how much danger they cause to others.
Arguably that's a 'race to the bottom', instead - but it's 'kinda similar'.

See also
Martyrdom and Herd Immunity - [ Motorism - a failure of democracy ! ]
Cars banned from near Edinburgh schools in trial - [ The Scotsman ]
Isn’t it time to end the Taliban approach to road safety? - [ the ubiquitous blog ]
Driving on pavements is illegal but parking on them isn't, confirms Britain’s top traffic cop - [ Roads Were Not Built For Cars ]
Unscrupulous diner's dilemma - [ Wikipedia ]