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I own a car, I enjoy driving, and I have an AAA membership (mainly because said car is 15 years old).

Those things being said, I absolutely cannot understand AAA's lobbying activities.

As a driver, I want my trips to be fast, safe, and enjoyable. Virtually all of AAA's political positions are in direct opposition to those goals.

Despite owning a car, I commute to work by bicycle, and take Metro (bus and rail) for many other trips. These modes of transportation make far more sense than a car for these trips -- there's no logic in driving any distance less than 3 miles, or sitting in traffic with throngs of commuters all heading to the same place. AAA's #1 policy priority should be to get as many urban commuters off of the roads as possible, and to provide good alternatives where driving is impractical.

This improves things for everyone -- rail commuters get a fast, predictable commute, while freeing up space on the roads for trips where transit is impractical or illogical. Driving can be a pleasant experience, but it rarely is when our built environment makes it mandatory.

AAA's stance on speed cameras is similarly wrongheaded. AAA should be lobbying the government to use technology to improve safety rather than raising revenue, and act as a deterrent rather than a punishment. Instead, they unilaterally oppose speed cameras, at the expense of safety for both drivers and pedestrians. Similarly, it's astonishing that AAA opposes efficiency and cleanliness standards -- would any driver today really prefer the 15MPG, low-horsepower, smoke-belching cars of the past? Efficiency standards have driven innovation, rather than strangled it.

AAA could also lobby in favor of low-cost decentralized carsharing programs such as Car2Go, which make a whole lot of sense in an urban environment compared to private vehicle ownership.

by andrew on Feb 14, 2013 4:37 pm • linkreport

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