Many of the replies cite how miserable commuting by car is, whether you hate being stuck in traffic or whether you want to take that time to read, play games, or watch something on your phone. (Somehow this left many New Yorkers defending our miserably broken subway system, but it’s the principle of the thing.) And sure, this is libertarian political commentary, I get it; it must be hell sharing a train carriage with 30 other people when your worldview rests on a commitment to individual space.

But I’m baffled by the assumption that all Americans feel this way about cars; despite all the studies to the contrary, these attitudes persist, and they underpin the infrastructure decisions being made right now that will shape the way we get around in the coming decades. There’s a very limited view of history—and, in turn, a very limited vision of the future—bound up in framing Americans as inherently car-loving, or the United States as a country dominated by the road. It’s easier to see this sort of before-and-after-the-road sense from the building where I live, which literally sits next to an entrance ramp to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, one of the postwar highways that Robert Moses designed to deliberately slice poor neighborhoods in half. Life continues here in spite of the road, not because of it.

It’s fitting, living beside one of the legacies of Robert Moses for years now, that I’m in a Facebook group whose URL honors his fiercest opponent: “What would Jane Jacobs do?” “New Urbanist Memes for Transit-Oriented Teens,” which got a great write-up in The Guardian last year, has attracted more than 100,000 members who love making memes about systemic infrastructure change (and celebrating bus drivers). While the anti-car sentiment in the group is strong in and of itself, there is a general disdain for an inability to…de-pave the mind, as it were: to imagine a world untethered from the roads that we’ve built and, especially, from the vehicles we’ve built to drive on them.

If the millennial shift away from loving cars shows us anything, it’s that many of us aren’t committed to driving for the sake of the car or the love of the open road—and with every new transit option, we pull a little further away, chipping away at the car’s ubiquity in the process. Some of our strongest progressive voices know this, and understand that “infrastructure week”—what an exciting two-year-long week it’s been!—needs to be about envisioning big structural change as much as repairing individual crumbling roads and bridges (though please, we need that, too). Many of us don’t want cars; let’s create a world where we don’t need them, either.

This article was originally published on How We Get To Next, under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license. Read more about republishing How We Get To Next articles. Sign up to the How We Get To Next newsletter here.

📬 Sign up for the Daily Brief

Our free, fast, and fun briefing on the global economy, delivered every weekday morning.