Here's an interesting take on the contrast in efficiency between Cascadia and France. Guess who comes out on top?
Consider intercity trains:
In fact, I had a bad case of high-speed train envy after taking the TGV from Paris to Marseilles. This trip, which is about the same as going from Portland to Vancouver, British Columbia, takes about 3 hours. The Portland-to-Vancouver trip takes 7 hours on our moribund Amtrak system (and you can't even ride the train all the way there--instead, you have to get off the train in Seattle and ride a bus to Vancouver).
I'm not sure if all the arguments about French households being more efficient translate to the Northwest. But there's plenty to learn on transportation. For example, Seattle is building a proto-streetcar that may one day match what Paris launched months ago.