Matters of Scale - Road Rage

Percent of surface area in the city of Los Angeles dedicated in some way to the automobile (roads, parking garages, etc.)
70 percent
Percent of surface area in Los Angeles devoted to parks and open space
5 percent
Number of people killed in Amtrak passenger train accidents in the United States since 1971
fewer than 100
Number of people killed every year in automobile accidents in the United States
more than 40,000
Number of deaths in the United States due to airline accidents in 1997
Number of pedestrians and cyclists killed in the United States by motor vehicles in 1997 (the equivalent of a commercial airline crash with no survivors every two weeks)
Number of people displaced each year in the United States by new highway construction
Number of Croatians displaced by war in 1997
Cost of fuel in the United States to drive 24,000 kilometers (15,000 miles) in Honda's 2000 Insight, which gets 28 kilometers/liter (65 miles per gallon)
Cost of driving that same distance in Land Rover's 2000 Range Rover, which gets 6 km/l (15 mpg)
Total vehicle kilometers traveled by automobiles in Japan, France, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Canada, and the United Kingdom combined in 1997
2.6 trillion
Total vehicle kilometers traveled by automobiles in just the United States in 1997
2.4 trillion
Sources: David Engwicht, Reclaiming Our Cities and Towns: Better Living With Less Traffic (Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, 1993); personal communication with Irene Paul, Department of Parks and Recreation, City of Los Angeles, 28 June 2000; personal communication with Steven Taub, Amtrak representative; Alliance for a Paving Moratorium website <>; Consumer’s Union, “How Green is Your Pleasure Machine?” Grist Magazine, 20 May 2000; Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, Headquarters Intercom, 8 September 1998; Immigration and Refugee Services of America, World Refugee Survey 1998 (Washington, DC: USCR Publications, 1998); Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy website <> (based on $1.80 per gallon for price of fuel); Federal Highway Administration, Federal Highway Administration Highway Statistics Series 1997 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1997) and U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, G-7 Countries: Transportation Highlights, BTS99-01, Washington, DC, 1999, <>. Compiled by Danielle Nierenberg.