Carl Zimmer and Paul Ehrlich are talking about the need for alternative modes of transportation. He rightly makes the point that there's a difference between designing a city for cars, and designing a city for people. Also makes the somewhat idiosyncratic point that with transit "you could at least be having a drink on your way home":
I'm not sure a drunken commute is really the ideal we need to be aspiring toward. But it's certainly true that walking or transit is the best way to get home after doing some drinking. The main alternative, after all, is drunk driving with the attendant car crashes leading to death, disfigurement, and disability. We take a certain level of that for granted right now but driving -- and especially driving after consuming even only a drink or two -- is a pretty high-risk behavior in the scheme of things and reducing its incidence would be a major boon.
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