Cars are deeply embedded in contemporary society. Their presence is taken for granted rather than seen as strange, which means it will take an enormous shift in political will for their authoritarianism to be much diminished in our lifetime.
The reason for the impasse is relatively simple: People don't want to give up their horseless carriages. Not for anything, not for anybody. Certainly not for iron horses despite the fact that even in their current, less-than-ultra-modern version, they are an excellent investment, a much better economic bang for the buck than automobiles, especially if you compare them with airplanes. Because the fact is, you can transport 1000 people 1000 miles for 300 gallons of diesel fuel on a train. Every time a big jumbo jet takes off, it blows out the equivalent of 30,000 car exhausts. Trains are safer, more efficient, more comfortable. Could easily be more rapid. High-speed rapid. More luxurious, too - as once upon a time they were.
Me, as I said, I'm personally a skeptic when it comes to cars. I learned to drive when I was 16 (my mother insisted I had to know how to change a tire before she would let me take the wheel after I got my learner's permit; showed me how to do it herself, too) but it seemed to me there was somehow something wrong about them. The space they took up, their sheer mass, the speeds at which they traveled, the reckless way people operated them, their mindlessness.
My skepticism increased when I realized that the fact of my wanting to get into the guts of their mechanical operation was being discouraged because I'd been born female, because one's sex was a cultural factor that influenced/determined how social and professional roles were gendered, and those roles were for the most part fairly strictly classified by sex.
It was OK to do well in languages, math, science, social studies, music, art, drama, gymnastics. But girls in high school did not play lacrosse even though it had been a women's game among the native peoples who devised it;. Boys in high school did not become cheerleaders despite the athletic prowess required for the tasks involved. If you were female, you did home ec and/or secretarial. If you were male, you took shop and/or auto mechanics.
I don't recall any exceptions and what's more, underlying all that was the fact (actually, the threat) of required military service IFF you were male. Which was, IMO, to our shame. Alas! In Flanders Fields, where poppies grow...
To some extent, things have changed over the course of time. In Westernized countries today, a woman driving a car is taken for granted. Women become architects, doctors, carpenters, electricians, plumbers. Women are pilots, public figures. We may very well soon see one rise through a stunningly thick glass ceiling to become President.
But a propos transit, I've recently been privileged to meet some remarkably fine women who work on the LIRR, a branch of the MTA, NYC's transit system, which manages to safely transport millions of people in very close quarters, millions of miles within a relatively small physical region, every single day of the year: 24/7 x 365.
But despite these gains in behavioral health (assuming that equality of person is a rational and viable behavioral health standard), has the nation in which Arcosanti resides eliminated misogyny and racism, or shaken off the oil-dependent reliance it has upon automobiles, which helps perpetuate social inequality and environmental degradation?
How might Arcosanti successfully address such concerns?