We've finally made it to the (temporary) end of the road and, much like Boyz II Men, I too am finding it difficult to let go. Here to There has been a wild ride (let's just assume all puns are intended from here on out) and we've greatly enjoyed the conversations, commutes, and process of bringing you stories that show just how much transportation--and all the systems, policies, technology and people that influence it--affects our lives and communities.
Episode 10 is the longest episode in the series as we join three policymakers in different areas of government to talk about their perspectives on transportation, how Minnesota stacks up, and what challenges lie ahead. We zip back and forth between Minneapolis and St. Paul including riding the light rail with ret. Met Council Chair Adam Duininck, walking/biking to the proposed West Lake Platform of the Southwest Light Rail expansion with State Senator Scott Dibble, and driving an electric car with MnDOT Commissioner Zelle.
Tune in to hear our commutes and closing thoughts and then read on below for more ideas and news on where transportation can go next.
From Fast Company - Public Transit On-Demand - Many cities are already thinking about how they can change their transit models to better meet consumer expectations and a new company, TransLoc, is helping planners visualize what it could look like to integrate on-demand deployment. The approach here is very interesting; as you can guess, a massive shift in how a city operates its transit system is an enormous and risk-laden undertaking. TransLoc uses a city's own data along with Uber-like technology to generate possibilities, and then provides a pilot to test it out.
From the Star Tribune - MN Begins to Think Driverless - As you heard in the episode, we asked MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle about the autonomous bus project that was announced earlier this year. It sounds like things are moving along nicely and this article speaks to not only a contender for the pilot program, but also to future plans for winter-time testing (always the #1 question here in the tundra) and large-scale event testing during the Super Bowl.
From Deadspin - Playing Ball with Equity - I'm not much for sports, but the story about the Atlanta Braves' relocation to Cobb County is one that has me on the edge of my stadium seat. It's really worth the read, but basically, affluent/highly white Cobb County offered the Braves a ton of money (literally Scrooge McDuck style to the tune of almost half a billion dollars) to move out of downtown Atlanta and into their white picket fence line. Doing so makes it almost impossible for fans to access the new stadium by public transit, as well as builds a bubble around game attendees so that any needs are provided by the sellers on-site. What could go wrong?
From the NYT - The Price of Unaffordable Living - Complaining about your commute feels truly American, but annoyance is usurped in this piece by the stark reality of what it can mean to live in a city like San Francisco that is practically unlivable for most of its workers. Follow the three hour commute of Sheila James, a federal employee who lives 80 miles from her office, as she gets up at 2:15 am to get to work via two trains and a bus. As we found over and over again in the podcast, affordable housing, transportation, and equity are a complete Reuleaux triangle on the Venn diagram of 'making it work'.
From the Chicago Tribune - Let's close on a lighter note. As we've talked to fans nationwide and in our own backyards, we've been excited to hear that the podcast helped make some of the less exciting aspects of transportation interesting to learn about. Similar in MO is a new book, "No Small Plans", which is a graphic novel looking at Chicago's cityscape. Public school students will use the book starting this fall to talk about the ways design decisions big and small affect important outcomes in livability. Sounds like we just found our next book club selection.
Thanks again to everyone who participated in and listened to Here to There. We'll be back with a second season and a slightly modified format in early 2018!
PS - In case you haven't been clocking it, each blog post has relied on a song to get its point across. The unofficial Here to There soundtrack is as follows. You're welcome.
Remix to Ignition R. Kelly
Bad Case of Loving You Robert Palmer
Electric Boogie Marcia Griffiths
Connection Rolling Stones
Livin' On a Prayer Bon Jovi
Call Me Maybe Carly Rae Jepsen
I Saw the Sign Ace of Base
So Happy Together The Turtles
Move On Up Curtis Mayfield
9 to 5 Dolly Parton
End of the Road Boyz II Men