Believe it or not there are a few cities in America where the majority of people do not routinely drive cars. They are among the largest or most densely populated cities. The problem people of these cities encounter is not traffic or driving conditions but finding parking spaces or affordable parking. Since real estate is at such a premium and building underground parking so expensive densely populated cities have few parking spaces per capita. Thus cities such as New York and San Francisco have fairly well-developed and utilized transit systems to mobilize their populations.
This is an example of how unsustainable cars are as population grows. As rural communities such as Cupertino become more crowded and densely populated they will one day eventually merge into one high density populated metropolitan area where parking will become scarce. As such communities grow cars will be driven less and alternative transportation become more developed. Transit systems can be developed at great expense but this is an opportunity where far cheaper bicycle infrastructure can be developed along with transit systems thus reducing the need for making such transit systems so extensive and expensive. If bicycle paths can be made safe and convenient fewer transit stop or transit routs would be needed.
If New York had no cars and instead narrower streets designed for bicycle traffic and parking then the city’s subway system could have far fewer stops and shorter trains and people could bicycle for up to 5 miles to destinations. If bicycle paths could consist largely of small tunnel subways branching throughout the city including underground transit stops and the basements of companies and shops it would not be subject to winter weather conditions and could remain well-lit by LED lights all the time. Free tricycle cabs could pick up the elderly and handicap.
If bicycles could be provided and maintained free by the city then one only needs to pick up a bike at a nearby kiosk and bike to the subway transit stop, leave the bike at a kiosk there and take the subway, pick up another bike to their destination. When biking home one can keep the bike until the next day, then repeat the process. Bikes are so cheap that such things are possible. This would totally eliminate bicycle theft or problems of having to lock up and maintain bikes. Free bicycle kiosks would be conveniently located every block or so. Of course one can still own their own fancier or specialized bike.
If a bike has a mechanical problems one only needs to raise a small flag at the back of the bike, leave it where it is to be picked up by the city for repairs and go to a nearby kiosk to pick up another and continue on. If one goes shopping and needs to carry a load they can buy a shopping cart such as a Travoy (I have one) to shop and later tow behind the bike.
Because bicycles and bicycle infrastructures are so cheap, compact, and the epitome of energy efficiency, building and maintaining bicycle subways instead of street level bicycle paths is both doable and economical. This allows housing to be built where most streets and parking lots exist today without creating a financial encumbrance, environmental burden, or real estate demand upon our growing and increasingly crowded communities, something truly sustainable. There is no reason why this couldn’t start today. Driving is an established cultural issue, not an issue of necessity.