Quite frankly it irks me whenever I hear about NIMBYism(Not In My Back Yard) or complaints of their tax dollars going to sustainable investments. Some of the more common complaints you will see newspapers showcasing, include opposition to new LRT or bicycle infrastructure. It seems that some people can't see past their selfish needs or the dollar signs associated with tax dollars that don't directly improve commuting by personal automobile.
By encouraging residents to adopt commuting by transit, or cycling it does not serve as a another obstacle for you to navigate on the road. Rather it helps make your commute quicker.
One of the problems with every individual owning an automobile is that now suddenly when a human commutes, the space that they take up is drastically increased, and if every individual owns a vehicle that is a lot of space that you have to accommodate for. This can be seen by grocery stores these days building large parking lots to accommodate their patrons. When an individual decides to instead jump on a bicycle for their daily chores, they only double the space that they would normally take up. When more individuals walk, take transit or cycle that means that is one less car on the road for you. It means that there is one less car length that you have to wait behind at a light, and that there is one more parking stall available for you.
There are other benefits that may not be so obvious, such as health benefits. When an individual decides to take sustainable modes of transportation, that means that there is one less car spewing toxic carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, benzene, asbestos, and even smog into the atmosphere. This correlates into healthier air for to breathe, and a healthier environment to raise your kids in without them contracting lung diseases or asthma. Those individuals that chose to take alternative modes of commuting are suddenly more active as they have to walk to their bus stop or are cycling to their destination and are partaking in more physical activities. Studies have shown that when humans are more active they have less health problems, their bodies are stronger. With less cars on the roads that means that it is less likely that you will get into an accident. With fewer pedestrians-auto, and auto-auto accidents occurring this means that there are fewer injuries. The combination of people breathing air with less pollutants, fewer injury causing automobile accidents, and an increase of individuals being more active in our lethargic society generates less strain on our health services. Less people are going to see the doctor, which in turn means that there those that do need health services can get them quicker.
When someone decides to commute by bicycle or transit that means there is one less 2000 pound vehicle on the road. Every vehicle that is on our roads causes strains to the infrastructure, and deforms the roads quicker for every car that is added. Since the roads also don't deform as quick that means it also puts less wear and tear on your vehicle, translating into less frequent maintenance needs and a lower cost. This also means that your government has to spend more tax dollars to resurface the roads, and fill potholes. By encouraging the alternative modes of transportation you put less of a strain on the system and your government can spend less maintaining the roads, applying salts in the winter months, and repairing infrastructure due to automobile accidents, which translates into less taxes that are needed from your pockets. If you think of how much of our cities that we dedicate to cars, you would notice that you can't walk more than 10 feet without running into a roadway. I have recently read an article from Treehugger.com that stated that New York City dedicates 80% of its total public space towards transportation. As I've stated before this is due to automobiles taking up amounts of space of space. If you encourage more sustainable transportation you do not have to dedicate so much space to the automobile, and you can make your cities more compact. Cities don't have to provide 4 lane wide roadways every where and you can get where you need to quicker because it is physically closer. Since you can get where you need to faster you also save money on fuel.
So please the next time that you hear about your government spending tax dollars on transit or new bike lanes, think of what this does for you rather than what it doesn't do for you. This means that it makes it easier for others to make the switch, you will get to work quicker. There will be less of a strain on infrastructure and health services, and you will have to devote less of your income for taxes. I highly encourage you to encourage others to replace one trip a week that you would normally use a vehicle for, and walk, cycle or take the bus instead. This will only make it easier for you to get around, maybe who knows you may even try it for yourself.