Continuing the 1963 Buchanan Report on the future of transport in towns, over the page:
A development which may offer a more direct challenge to the motor car, assuming the problem of noise can be overcome, is the air-cushion craft. It seems to give scope for development of a small personal machine, useable perhaps eventually on ordinary pavements as a substitute for walking. Yet it may be questioned whether it would really take this form, whether the urge to put a perspex cover over it for weather protection, to use it at higher speeds, to add extra seats, and to affix luggage containers, would not soon convert it into a motor car in all respects but the possession of wheels.
[…] It may have a different source of motive power so that it is no longer strictly a motor vehicle, it may be quieter and without fumes, it may be styled in some quite different way, it may be produced in smaller forms, it may be guided in certain streets by electronic means, it may have the ability to perform sideways movements, but for practical purposes it will present most of the problems that are presented by the motor vehicle today.
These days if you drop a criticism of car addiction into a conversation somebody will be there with a defence of car use: you could have the bigger carbon footprint. Somebody driving their compact fuel efficient car to the shops once a week might have a smaller carbon footprint than somebody taking daily long-distance rail trips. Congestion? Sure, but that won’t make much of a difference to their carbon footprint. They might drive into somebody? Sure, but that won’t make much of a difference to their carbon footprint. Particulate pollution? That’s not a greenhouse gas.
Everyone seems to have forgotten that there were already multiple major problems with our transport and town planning long before we discovered our CO2 problem. We need a solution to them all, not an excuse to ignore all but one.
(With a tip of the hat to Carlton Reid, whose joke I’m stealing.)