What is it? How does it work?

Is our choice of transit method political? Would that it were not so. But in these pages (under construction) I try to show that the automobile has been uniquely privileged in the industrial West, to the detriment and exclusion of those who travel by any other means. Carcentrism is a social justice issue, not "just" an environmental problem or a city planning challenge. Under this heading you'll find writing and resources about "road safety" -- a very political topic indeed!

Did you hear me say "carcentrism"? What a weird, made-up word! Oh no, not another "ism"... what on earth could it mean? Sure, cars are very important to our economy and our lifestyle, but why invent some new "ism"? Is there no end to political correctness? Read on, and decide for yourself.

Whose Roads?
An excellent overview of the problem of pedestrians' and cyclists' road rights. This paper corrects the misapprehension that pedestrians and cyclists "don't pay for" the public roads and therefore have less right to them.
Is Cycling Really Dangerous?
People keep telling us so. Here I argue that (a) cycling is not nearly so dangerous as it's painted, and (b) our ideas about 'danger' and 'safety' are badly skewed.
Road Safety Articles
This is a five-part article series on road safety, once again from a contrarian, pro-bike, pro-pedestrian viewpoint. If you know little about risk and how risk is measured and discussed, these articles may be a useful introduction to a complicated and contentious subject.
Social Justice Scrapbook
If I told you that most people who kill someone with a car get away with it, you'd probably scoff. But here's a disorganized grab bag of clippings from pedestrian and bike advocacy sites, from discussion in the UK House of Commons, from newspapers, all saying basically this same thing: people who drive carelessly and maim or kill their fellow-citizens usually walk away without penalty. Why?
Carcentric Language and carcentric practise
Language serves as often to conceal or distract as it does to reveal or illuminate. Prison wardens will say that a riot ended "with no serious injuries" when they mean that no prison staff were hurt -- even if several prisoners were shot and killed. Cops in NYC used to write "NHI" (no human involved) when reporting the murder of prostitutes. Military jargon abounds in laundered, anaemic language to disguise the brutality of warfare: official documents talk about "payload delivery" and the "servicing" of targets, as if a bomb were a UPS package. Some men still talk about "seducing" a woman as a euphemism for violent rape. Corporations now spend millions per annum on "greenwashing" campaigns to launder their public image and distract the public from their poor labour relations or environmental crimes. Euphemism and doublespeak are always to be found where some kind of violence or crime is trying to cover its tracks. Just so with our official justice and highway authorities and the problem of the automobile: the language we use, the efforts to which we go to ignore the problem, are good indicators of how big the problem really is.
Carcentric Metrics in "traffic safety"
When we assess risk and safety, we use various metrics -- ways of expressing risk in a context, such as lifetime risk, MTBF (mean time between failures), risk per annum, risk per hour, risk per trip, risk per distance travelled. The highway/traffic establishment often leans heavily on "risk per mile" to prove that high-speed freeways are a good thing and that automobile travel is very safe. But is risk per mile really a definitive metric?
Bad Science from the traffic safety establishment
Powerful decision makers base many of their decisions (those which are not pre-determined by bribery and influence, that is) on charts graphs and tables presented by "responsible authority." But how good is the data analysis that feeds those graphs and charts? The "traffic safety" establishment naturally tends to spin its numbers in favour of the automobile. Here I look at just a few very specific instances of the carcentrism that saturates police, highway, and city planning offices throughout the industrialized world. When a covert ideology (such as racism, antiSemitism, sexism, classism, carcentrism) deeply colours our public process, it warps the entire process of social research, from data-gathering through data analysis and presentation. [This article still under construction]
Bad Science from the "Sound Science" folks
Even the Union of Concerned Scientists -- folks who have often pointed out the social and environmental cost of automobile-mania -- finally knuckle under and publish some very unsound science when they try to reassure Americans that hybrid cars will solve all our problems. I cancelled my membership, and this letter to UCS tells why. Typical of the language used in promoting hybrids and EV's is this
Since most white-collar workers use their cars to commute, spending around 2 hours a day in bumper-to-bumper traffic talking on their cell phones, hybrids are a godsend for the 21st Century lifestyle.
rather damning quote from Remy Chevalier. Note that the inevitable consequence of massive automobile overuse, 2-hour commutes to work through gridlocked streets, is taken for granted. The private automobile cannot be questioned. Except for a handful of car-free activists (currently considered a sort of lunatic fringe in the US), no environmental, public health, or road safety initiative is permitted to challenge the carcentric paradigm.
De Clarke