Bicycles Built for Two, Automobiles Built for One
To accomodate Americans who are gradually growing larger, wider, and heavier, automakers are being forced to strengthen and widen their car seats for drivers. For example, Toyota has added 3 inches to the width of the seats in the 4Runner, Tacoma, and Avalon.
Key Data: Representing the years 1962 to 2000, Ford Motor data has shown that the "average near-biggest" man has grown 27 pounds heavier and 1.5 inches wider at the hips.
Off-the-Wall Question: Assuming that cars remain their current "standard" width (to fit in existing highway lanes), in what year would autodealers be able to fit only one seat in the "front seat" of a car. Note: Assume linear model is involved...you will have start by trying to figure out the width of an "average near-biggest" man.
Note: If you want to see a similar phenomena happening in the widening of seats on buses, consider this report by Virginia Groark.
Source: Chris Woodyard's "Automakers Widen Seats for Wider...Seats," USA TODAY, December 27, 2005