Thursday, October 23, 2008

Transportation in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam is that one city that Americans can just never stop pointing the finger at. See, over in Amsterdam they let gay marriage happen...and now they're trying to legalize polygamy! Have you all heard that one? I certainly have. I've also heard Americans complaining about Amsterdam's red light district, their loose laws on drugs and of course, their rampant sexuality.

Now most Americans are also quick to forget that Amsterdam is a world tourism location, a financial headquarters, one of Europe's largest metropolitan areas and also a transportation exemplar. It's not only the most bicycle-friendly city in the world, it's also actively working to reduce CO2 emissions and become more 'green'. Lastly, when it comes to innovative transportation ideas, it just doesn't get better than this:

Oh yeah, you're seeing that right. It's a DHL boat designed specifically for the canals of Amsterdam. It works as a "Floating Distribution Center", with four workers to work on the boat and around 20 bicyclists to deliver packages. By this system, which has successfully run for over 10 years, there is less traffic congestion on the roads, it is healthier for their employees and their green goals are more easily accomplished. Plus with the cost of gas, I can't imagine that this brilliant concoction is more costly than having trucks go all over the city.

Notice how the bikes fit onto the floating distribution center itself.

Now, pardon my soap box moment, but when I hear John McCain and Sarah Palin spew out that,"America has the greatest innovators and workforce in the world", I get slightly incredulous when I see things like this. Why haven't Americans done something like this? Are there brilliant and effective transportation ideas like this in Minneapolis, Columbus, Phoenix or Memphis? Maybe I've just missed it. Please, if you've seen something like this, let me know. It doesn't have to be precisely the same thing, I just want to be reminded that Americans still can be the greatest workforce in the world.

Unfortunately, I have a feeling that, yet again, Americans were too busy watching Rock of Love and listening to Ciara to worry about the future of this nation. That's work that someone else can always do. *sigh*

(Thanks Reuben for the pictures!)