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More and More Towns Are Falling in Love With Golf Carts

From the Atlanta suburbs to Palm Springs, golf carts and neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs) are increasingly found off the links.
The Villages in central Florida has 90 miles of golf-cart infrastructure.
The Villages in central Florida has 90 miles of golf-cart infrastructure.Phelan M. Ebenhack / AP

One of the promotional videos for The Villages, Central Florida’s city of the old, is all about golf carts. Picture a Boomer’s take on Pimp My Ride: Some carts are souped up to look like Model Ts, fire trucks, or Thunderbirds, or colored to rep a hometown sports team. In a city with no native sons, the carts are expressions of identity.

They’re also a central mode of transportation. In The Villages, according to the book Young-Old: Urban Utopias of an Aging Society by architect Deane Simpson, there are 50,000 golf carts and 90 miles of dedicated golf-cart infrastructure. Autocentric facilities like drive-ins and car washes have been adapted. Golf-cart bridges and paths lead to golf-cart parking. One-third of trips, in this city of 110,000, are taken by cart.