Ponting recounts a story which should be more widely known:

"In 1936 three corporations connected with the car industry (General Motors, Standard Oil of California and the tyre company Firestone) formed a new company called National City Lines whose purpose was to buy up alternative transport systems and close them down. By 1956 over 100 electric surface rail systems in 45 cities had been purchased and then closed. Their biggest operation was the acquisition, in 1940, of the Pacific Electric system, which carried 110 million passengers a year in 56 communities. Over 1100 miles of track were ripped up and by 1961 the whole network was closed." (p.337)

Ornstein and Ehrlich refer to this very manoeuvre in connection with pollution:

"smog in the LA basin is not generally viewed as a problem with its roots in human behaviour... to most Angelenos, the affliction of smog is an act of God, not an act of Homo sapiens." (p.77)

Indeed, this is a further example of reification.

Fuller seemed content with motoring as a mass transport option, although his own revolutionary, streamlined Dymaxion Car was at least relatively economical.

UK Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions Road Safety web-site.



Paul Taylor 2001