The Ford Ka, a small city car which is not sold in the United States
Buying and running a car needs a lot of money, even more for a good quality one that is not too old. There are things to pay for – the car itself, fuel, parts (for example, tires/tyres), maintenance, repairs, insurance to cover the cost of crashes or theft, parking charges, and toll roads and any tax or licensing fees charged by government.
When cars crash they can be damaged and hurt people. When too many cars try to go the same way, traffic congestion slows them all. They can cause air pollution if too many are used in a small area like a city, and the combined pollution of the world’s cars is thought to be partly to blame for climate change. Many places where people live close together have public transportation (or mass transit) such as buses, trains, trams and subways. These can help people go more quickly and cheaply than by car when traffic jams are a problem. Some of these problems can be made smaller, for example by carpooling, which is putting many people together in one car.
Traffic congestion and accidents can be dangerous to other road users, for example people riding bicycles or walking, especially in an old town built when cars were few. Some 20th century towns are designed for cars as the main transport. This can cause other problems, such as even more pollution and traffic, as everyone has to drive. Communities are divided up and separated with big roads. People walking are in danger by expressways with too few foot bridges, small road bridges or other crossings. Designers now understand these problems and try to build more balanced systems.