Transportation

Q&A: Dan Sturges on America’s “Cultural Inertia” Around the Car

The industrial designer and electric vehicle advocate talks current developments in automotive design and what ways the industry will change in the years to come.

The industrial designer Dan Sturges may have more perspective on electric cars than anyone in the automotive industry. He began working on what he calls “small local vehicles” as early as 1988. He founded trans2 in 1991 and four years later commercially introduced the first “neighborhood electric vehicle (NEV).” Given this long history, Sturges is a firm believer in the…

“Straphanger” Reminds Us Walkable Cities Are Possible—and Necessary

Taras Grescoe’s latest book, Straphanger, is both paean to public transportation and an evisceration of car culture around the world.

I’ll admit I was a little skeptical when I cracked open Taras Grescoe’s latest book Straphanger, which is both paean to public transportation and an evisceration of car culture. Living happily car-free in New York, I feared I might be the choir to the Montrealer’s preaching. But while the book—part history, part travelogue, and part manifesto—might not seem terribly radical…

The Psychology of Getting People to Take Public Transit

It’s not enough for public transportation to be efficient. It needs to be enjoyable, fun, better than the alternative. Public transportation needs to be sexy.

If people still smoke despite knowing that smoking can kill them, why do we think that people will stop driving their cars just because they know it’s bad for the environment? This simple question was put to transportation planners everywhere by Carlos Felipe Pardo, a transportation policy specialist with a degree in psychology. The answer, most of the time, is: …

Navigating the Neutral Ground

I live on St. Charles Avenue, home to the famous New Orleans streetcar line. It’s home also (in addition to some insanely impressive houses) to one of the most unique urban spaces in America. The St. Charles Avenue streetcars run on a tree-lined strip known locally as “the neutral ground.” This is simply a “median” in other cities, but in…

APPLIED INTELLIGENCE

    “Bike Path in Time” Joseph G. Brin © 2012 Pier 53 on the Delaware River, in Philadelphia, was the point of entry for immigrants, primarily from Eastern and Southern Europe, from the 1870’s through the early 1900’s. Demolished in 1915, it took nearly 100 years before some smart people discovered that the remaining pile of rocks, trash and rotting…

The Socialist Car & Its Impact on Soviet Cities

The new book, The Socialist Car: Automobility in the Eastern Bloc, examines a culture of automobile use distinct from the western world's.

To get one large point out of the way: In the new book, The Socialist Car: Automobility in the Eastern Bloc, several contributors rapidly acknowledge the oxymoron of the title as well as the practice of owning a car in the former Soviet Empire. The private automobile, that avatar of western individualism, is difficult to square with collectivist notions. And…

New Exhibit Garners Excitement for New York City’s Bike Share

An exhibit showcases the new Bike Share system coming to New York City in July, with 10,000 bikes at 600 hubs across Manhattan and North West Brooklyn.

I’m excited! I want Bike Share! 72% of New Yorkers agree with me according to Quinnipiac University. This week at the Center for Architecture, an exhibit opened showcasing the new Bike Share system coming to New York City in July, with 10,000 bikes at 600 hubs across Manhattan and North West Brooklyn. We all want to live next door to…

Chris Burden Recreates a Stunning Miniature City for Metropolis II

Artist Chris Burden astounds us again, evoking the energy of a real city with "Metropolis II" at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

After mounting a 65-foot Erector Set skyscraper at Rockefeller Center in 2008, and then placing a diverse collection of vintage streetlights like lit columns at a main entry to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), artist Chris Burden astounds us again. LACMA presents Chris Burden’s Metropolis II. 1100 miniature cars race along 18 lanes of traffic around 25 buildings. Given the…

What’s Next: Transportation

In the last 50 years, U.S. transportation policy has been overwhelmingly focused on highway construction. Funding was so automobile-centric that it wasn’t until the 1990s—when Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan established a new “80/20” spending formula—that mass transit was seriously included in appropriations bills. Congress is currently working on a new appropriations bill that will have crucial implications on that spending….