Life on Wheels - Transportation For a New Urban Century - The Secrets of Nature
- [Narrator] Important function of the highway patrol is to maintain the safety of the road. To prevent accidents causing injury or death. But not all the fatalities on the highway are accidents, though they may appear to be. (car engine revving) (traffic rumbling) (gentle music) - Got the car up to the speed limit, which was 45. Approach, bam! Crossed over the line and hit me head on. And then the car came to a stop in the opposite direction.
The driver's door popped open, and saw fluids leaking. So I rolled out onto the highway. I remember I had my cellphone in my pocket so I pulled it out, and I called my wife. I was kind of in a state of shock, at that point. Fire department was on the scene within minutes.
They take you right into the trauma center. I hadn't been able to tell how well I was functioning. Quite a exhilarating moment when I realized that I survived this catastrophe in one piece. And here was life. - [Narrator] In one year, more than 1.3 million deaths worldwide where the result of automotive crashes.
More than 15 years of war in Iraq and Syria. And road traffic injuries, another leading global killer of people aged five to 29-years. Despite centuries of advances that have made our lives safer, healthier and more secure one the greatest threats to our well being, remains hidden in plain sight, the automobile. ♪ I touched the earth but never the ground ♪ ♪ By footfall makes no sound ♪ ♪ Light the flame, light the fire, keys in my hand ♪ ♪ Ready to burn it down ♪ ♪ I ride the fire, ride the flame ♪ ♪ Move so fast, I have no name ♪ ♪ Can't slow me down with the wind in my hair ♪ ♪ Ready to run, run, run, run ♪ ♪ I touched the earth but never the ground ♪ ♪ By footfall makes no sound ♪ ♪ Light the flame, light the fire, keys in my hand ♪ ♪ Ready to burn, burn, burn ♪ ♪ Like they're burning up ♪ ♪ I ride the fire, ride the flame ♪ ♪ Move so fast I have no name ♪ ♪ Can't slow me down the wind in my hair ♪ ♪ Ready to run, run, run, run ♪ ♪ Till I run out of time ♪ (gentle music) - [Narrator] At the birth of every culture, there is a tool, a technology, an idea. A new way to fulfill our most basic human desires.
It begins as a promise and becomes an organizing principle. It unfolds a series of choices, each one shaping our movement, our identities and our lives. Often, in ways we have never imagined.
- Human beings are famously a tool creating animal. And one of the tools we like to create is tools that make us more mobile, faster, that impel our journey, whether or water land, and so it's not surprising that a automobile would come and emerge out of that impulse, which is deeply rooted in human culture. It actually started when we are hunters. That premium on speed, in a sense, is genetic.
It was built in. - My generation was subjected to billions of dollars of television advertising, by automobile companies, that told me that owning my own car would bring me freedom and autonomy and social status and sex. That a car would be an extension of my identity. And that the freedom of mobility that the car offers. And it's amazing, right? I can come and go whenever I want, right? I'm weather protected. I have a locker for my stuff.
And if I have a nice car, I feel really, really good. - [Narrator] This is the culture of the personal automobile, a peculiar dream of mobility that's dense with contradictions. It accelerates individual journeys, but brings cities to a standstill. Designed for safety it endangers our lives. And the more we travel alone, the larger our vehicles grow. - Urban highways destroy quality of life.
Urban highways are like poisonous, rivers, like sarin rivers. People cannot get near them, they cannot be next to them. They cannot cross them.
They are like fences in a cow pasture, they restrict freedom, mobility. They lower values of homes around them, and they are jammed, they don't solve anything. They are always jammed.
- 40 hours a year, the average American sits in traffic. That's a full week's worth of vacation time sitting in traffic congestion. It costs us over $120 billion per year in wasted fuel and lost productivity.
- It's the same problem everywhere in the world. And what that problem is fundamentally a major hit to economic efficiency. - [Narrator] So how did our cities and communities, with road systems designed for efficient movement, reach this point? And is traffic congestion really the main problem? Or is it a symptom of a more fundamental design flaw? - 85% of cars on the road have one person in them.
And yet we sit in traffic congestion, and then we go mad. We don't have a road capacity problem. We have a seat under utilization. (laughs) And we've tried for decades to accommodate these vehicles by widening and widening the roads. And unfortunately, there's a phenomenon called induced demand, whereby you create new capacity, and pretty soon that gets eaten up by new vehicles and new trips on the road. - Throwing more infrastructure at congestion never solves the congestion problem.
Transportation capital projects also have a profound impact on social equity. On who wins and who loses in the urban economy. Transportation has a profound impact on public health. In fact, my physician friends routinely complain to me that I as a transportation professional, have more impact on public health outcomes than they do as doctors. Their job is to clean up the problem once it's already happened, but the transportation industry, we're the ones responsible for delivering healthy places.
- [Narrator] In much of the United States, and increasingly throughout the world, the urban landscape is designed explicitly for personal car ownership. The unintended effect of these policies is that people, jobs and communities have grown further and further apart. Elsewhere in the world, where urban population growth has outpaced new infrastructure, traffic congestion can paralyze cities for much of the day.
100 years ago, few would have conceived that the lives, homes and cities of so many would revolve around a single transportation technology. - Any large road in a city, including what we call highways, today, should have exclusive lanes for buses, should have protected bicycle ways, and should have large sidewalks. - The car is this thing that takes up space. It takes up space when we're driving it and when we're storing it. And its impact on the form of building is, in a lot of cases, directly detrimental to the sociability of the neighborhood. - We know, now, finally, after 100 years of sciences, that the human body requires 10,000 steps, every single day, for optimal functioning.
If you don't design your city with walking and biking in mind, you are designing your city to be unhealthy. - If you look at the history of mankind, people are walkers. That's how we've gotten our exercise, since the dawn of urbanization, is by walking around cities. It's only in the very modern era, and mostly in the United States, where we had this concept that we needed to get somewhere as fast as possible, and therefore we're going to use cars to do it. Really walking is the natural mode of transportation for human beings.
- [Narrator] In too many modern cities, life without a car seems almost unthinkable. Protected by larger vehicles, wider roads, and more advanced technology, the driver lives in a world designed for personal comfort, and automotive safety. It's an environment that feels natural from behind the wheel but out of the car and set foot on the street and the experience is dramatically different. On foot the journey through an average city is a collection of unconnected pathways, vast parking lots and dangerous crossings. This view from the street is one that too few people, including policymakers, have witnessed firsthand.
- United Nations has done a study and looked at how quickly urbanization happen, and they've looked specially at mega cities. So large cities, over 10 million people. And the conclusion from that study was that between 2010 and 2050, cities would grow on average with 1% per year.
Now, what we see as an example here in Stockholm is that those growth figures don't match up. We already see that the last couple of years to growth figures are probably double that amount, probably at around 2% per year. The expectation is that it might be 3% of next few years. Now, if that continues, then it won't take until 2050 when we're 40% more people in town, but it might be around 2030 that it all really happens.
Now if we think that we have a problem now, when we spend about 17 working days per year in traffic jams, we spend about 30% of our time looking for parking spots, then we definitely have a problem when we're 40% more people, already in 2030. - [Narrator] Today there are over one billion cars on the world's roads, and some predict this will double within 30 years. Beyond traffic deaths, congestion, huge inequities and infrastructure spending, the current path also points to climate disaster. without significant changes, the Earth's temperature will rise by as much as four degrees Celsius, within our children's lifetimes. - Transportation is about roughly 1/3 of our energy consumption. It's the most expensive part of our energy.
I think by mid-century, we would need to begin to reduce the carbon emissions and overall greenhouse gas emissions by roughly 80%. - The only way to really bring those emissions down is to, number one, displace fossil dependence with renewables, or non carbonized energy resources. But in a lot of countries, like in the developing countries like India, a lot of parts of the Middle East, they have older automobiles, and that's where a lot of these emissions come from.
And once these things are in the atmosphere, they're distributed. So it's not a local problem, it's a global problem. If the developing world goes along the same trajectory that we've experienced in the West, then, whatever improvements we make in the future, here, in the West, are gonna be dwarfed by the increased energy consumption and the environmental effects of what's happening in the developing world. Because 90% of the world's population live in the developing world, it's really like the iceberg.
We're looking so much at the developed world, which is the tip of the iceberg above the surface of the water. But most of the people in the world are living below the surface of the water, so to speak, in the developing world. - The most innocent victims of climate change will be the world's poorest, that had nothing really to contribute to the greenhouse gases, compared to the richer societies. But the most innocent victims are the many generations of people yet to be born. - The more worrisome impact comes not from ozone but from small particles. For example, soot.
These small particles can penetrate, the particular very small ones, penetrate deeply into a lot. So those are the ones that do cause premature mortality, particularly in vulnerable people. This type of degradation of air quality with small particles, effects lung development in children. So children certainly don't grow with healthy lungs in a polluted city. - So now we're beginning to wake up to the severity of the climate change, a threat to human society.
But also other things, like what it does to our health, from a longer term, to love in cities with that level of noise, and with that level of pollution. What it does to our average stress level, on an everyday basis as well. That needs to be included, but it's not at the moment. We don't think about that when we think about the cost of driving a car. - Based on climate modeling the effects will go on for millennia, not decades, not centuries, but millennia. And so what we do today, and what we do in the next 20, 30, 50 years, will be crucial.
- I like when the kids are actually making their voices heard. Because as a parent, it's really hard for me to look at kids in the eye and be honest about, you know, what am I doing to make sure they have a future? Not enough. - Our transportation decision making is among the most impactful of the decisions we make in terms of our actions on the environment.
- [Narrator] Every year, the world spends more than $700 billion on road infrastructure. And even this is insufficient to cover needed maintenance of existing roads. How we choose to allocate these resources will shape the societies we live in, and the streets we inhabit. So who, or what our streets for? More cars? More pedestrians? More public transit? And who gets to decide? (relaxed music) - One of the most important tools for creating good cities is to have the possibility of government to acquire, even by force if necessary, through eminent domain, to acquire land to make roads, to make ports, to make airports. So it's very obvious that society as a whole has a right to decide how road space is used.
- Government continues to enact policies to advantage in the automobile over public transit. I've experienced that in Hong Kong. You'll be on a road where they built a barrier, that you simply can't cross the road. And the roads carrying so much traffic that it would be dangerous if you could cross the road. We become victims of planning when planners have a better idea on how we're supposed to live or how we're supposed to move around. How we structure our public transit in our cities, we're typically giving public transit second class treatment and the automobile first class treatment.
And that's really the biggest thing, in terms of social equity, that affects the built environment and the way we inhabit it. - [Narrator] Transportation infrastructure may be one of the most powerful tools for promoting social inclusion. It influences where we live, where we work, and who we meet. It channels investment and creates economic opportunities. Simply by expanding mobility access to more people, city governments can dramatically improve the well being of all citizens, including the most vulnerable.
- Here are things you can do in your street right now. They happen to be things based on you sharing space, sharing activities, sharing rewards, sharing value. That's what cities are about. Cities are intrinsically about sharing.
That's the whole point of them. Their raison d'etre is coming together, sharing resources, whether it's space or collective wisdom. - The most valuable resource a city has is road space.
We could find oil or diamonds under any city and would never be as valuable as is road space. The space between the buildings. The question is how to distribute these roads space between pedestrians, bicyclist, public transport, and cars? And when we distribute this road space, we should remember that all citizens have the exact same right to road space. A poor citizen without car, or a child has the same right to road space as somebody in a luxury car.
- [Narrator] Even relatively low cost investment can extend the reach of today's public transit systems. Shared bikes and scooters, for example, can extend access to existing transit hubs with little or no need for additional road infrastructure. Perhaps more importantly, they contribute to behavioral changes that favor lighter, smaller vehicles over car dependent transport. By building on and connecting existing assets we can magnify their benefits at the least possible cost. - But I think the real solution is in public transportation systems.
And if you look at the importance of a public transportation system, they're mirrors of the societies that create them. And they're mirrors of the people that use them. And currently, at least in the U.S., Americans don't like what they see when they look in that mirror. As we're designing these systems, the experience that the person is paying for really drives whether they plan on repeating that experience or not. So if you look at Maslow's hierarchy of needs there's five steps that go from basic human needs to self-actualization.
And municipalities are designing transportation systems that just meet basic needs. At times they're not even up to the safety level. They're really just getting people from point A to point B. And that's not an experience most people are willing to pay for, much less choose to use unless they have to. If the transportation systems were able to designed in such a way that people could derive pride of ownership, pride of use, self-esteem.
Be able to maintain all of the other levels of Maslow's hierarchy, and still use that system, people would choose to use that system. So when thinking about a mobility system there needs to be those human needs though of as well. How does someone think of themselves when they're using that system? - [Narrator] Human perception is not evolved for our current road speeds.
Assessing the risks of high velocities does not come naturally. We recoil at the edge of a 30-foot cliff, even when our bodies are in complete control. At speeds of 60 miles per hour we weave among trucks, traffic lanes, and hills with scarcely a thought of the thousands of fatal risks we take.
Our brains are simply not attuned to the speeds that are not part of our everyday experience. (gentle music) - If you're going 65 miles an hour and you hit a concrete wall, once the car stops moving, then you continue to move. Injuries that are related to the negative acceleration within the body.
Anything that we have can be injured in automobile accident. Before the accident you were out playing tennis and now you're in a wheelchair being fed through a feeding tube in your stomach wall. - [Narrator] Today, street safety is mostly a privilege for those with a driver's license. Pedestrians, cyclists, children and the elderly, in most cities, their safety is little more than an afterthought.
- If we want our children to grow and stay in these urban environments, at what age to become free to move across the city without the fear and stress of, "Can I cross this road safely?" - Design cities around the needs of people, not around the needs of cars. This sounds obvious but is exactly the opposite of what we have been doing for the last 100 years. - [Narrator] We may never fully come to grips with the actual risks of driving, but new approaches are being developed to enhance our awareness and at least limit the dangers we face. Adapted to humans rather than vehicles, our cities would look radically different. By working with speed, street design, and human behavior, we might double or triple the volume of people moving through our streets. (people chattering) (gentle music) - Your main purpose as a driver is not to crash.
Now you may think your main purpose as a driver is to get to where you're going. But if you don't believe me, ask your passenger what they think your purpose is, and they'll tell you your main purpose is do not crash. So the amount of time you can look away while driving is just around one second, maybe just a fraction over one second, because during that one second of driving, whether you're driving slowly, city traffic, on the highway, the risk of accidents, in your brain, goes up exponentially.
And as more and more electronics come into the car, it'll be interesting to see if those electronics are actually improving our ability, not to crash, or if they're really detrimental to our ability to drive safely. - [Narrator] Advanced driver assistance systems continue to proliferate. Designed to sense environment, perceive risks, and alert drivers, these systems will give us some of the capabilities needed to prevent accidents. At the same time, they call into question issues of surveillance, data ownership and personal autonomy. In the coming years, some speed limits may even be electronically enforced.
Using geo-fencing, a car's software can limit the vehicle speed, making it impossible to drive unsafely in schools zone at certain times. For car companies, these human-machine interfaces represent a significant shift from a century's focus on hardware design. It's a move from physical protection to electronic prevention.
From harnessing human bodies to connecting with human minds. (gentle music) For generations, car ownership has been welcomed as a liberation from local experience, and an expression of personal identity. But today, another technology has taken its place at the center of our lives, not a transportation tool, but a communications device. Embedded with GPS, sensors and computing power, the smartphone can render an array of transportation choices into a fluid, on-demand network. The same is true for the things we buy, where just in time logistics, same-day delivery and door to door transport are now possible for infinite variety of goods.
Car-sharing, delivery services, city transit apps, all of these are just glimpses of an emerging marketplace for digitally connected mobility services. - What we see happening now is that ecology coming together, and the formation of something called the new mobility industry. And this industry brings together the small businesses, the big businesses and a whole array of industries. And it says, this is the next information revolution. - Not one technology but several technologies are converging, along with an enablement of a different kind of business model for mobility.
Where now you don't necessarily have to buy and own the car personally, in order to get that spontaneous, responsive, go anywhere, anytime, kind of freedom that comes with owning the car. - We have the roadmap, it's the technology that's disrupting and changing the way we apply the solutions. - We're at the dawn of a transformational shift, where all services are subscribed to and all experiences can be attained through your smartphone or through some future device that's yet to be designed. Whether it's the watch or the armband, or whatever it is. And that's what's really exciting because what that does now is it creates that layer of abstraction from reaching for your car keys to get into a car, to summoning a trip and seeing what the options are.
And what that does it creates an opportunity right now to link public transport, which is what we call scheduled mobility, things that come by a schedule, with on-demand transport, whether it's your feet, your own bicycle, a bike share, a car share, a ride share service, or the on-demand taxi services like Uber or Lyft. Those things need to be integrated as a package so that the customer can feel like they're reliable. - So thinking of it as a network and not simply another mode of transit.
- [Narrator] These information systems can go a long way towards reintegrating transportation in an urbanizing world. Starting with crucial transit points between roads, trains, streetcars, buses, and bikeways, we can weave together much of the infrastructure that already exists, but making it all work seamlessly demands new forms of collaboration across different modes, services, technologies, and infrastructures. - It's scale that matters. You have enough nodes in your bike share system or your car share your system, then suddenly it's like instant transportation. - This system will break down in places where you don't have that kind of reliable demand, at all times, and ubiquitously throughout an area.
It's adapted to mass participation. - Our younger adults are not aspiring to have cars. Our cities are gonna be less car-dominated. We're gonna create space in our cities that our communities should take now. - [Narrator] Already a number of cities are leading the way in 21st-century mobility. In Stockholm, congestion pricing has reduced car traffic entering the city by 20%.
In Singapore, a single app now combines transport by train, bus taxi, car-sharing and bikes under one monthly subscription. And in Barcelona, an advanced simulator uses real traffic data and demand patterns, to give detailed predictions of the effects of proposed mobility projects. One of its first has showed that a fleet of on-demand shuttles could significantly reduce private vehicle traffic, and pollution levels throughout the city. - We've been doing a lot of work in China, over the last 10 years, and we've watched them transform themselves from an old paradigm of isolated superblocks with single uses into a rebirth of the idea of transitory development. Mixed-use, human scale blocks, walkability. Bringing back the bicycles that were completely lost and destroyed as a mode.
- I've been focused on retrofitting our streets for people, versus a particular mode of transportation. We're building a new riverwalk, a $100 million dollar riverwalk. Building the largest elevated trail in the world for people. 2.7 miles of elevated trail
that was an old abandoned rail line, through four neighborhoods. And so you have some of those successes and people are willing to gamble with larger dollars. - [Narrator] Even buses, often notoriously inconvenient are being revived with the help of digital technologies. Thanks to a complete redesign of the bus network in Houston, Texas, more than 80% of the city's population now lives within walking distance of a bus stop.
And in Bogota, Colombia, a now long-standing bus rapid transit system moves more passengers than many of the world's subway systems, at just a fraction of the cost. - How do you incentivize people to make the right choices? And you make a 10% mode shift in a city, through behavioral change, that could be a billion-dollar-plus benefit to the economy. (gentle music) - [Narrator] The digital technologies of today only hint at our future options. These emerging services and solutions are together becoming a new kind of platform for experiences, businesses, and transport systems we have yet to imagine. What we now view through a smartphone is only a glimpse of our new transportation landscape.
- You gotta build a platform that people really wanna be a part of and provide them a multitude of services. But also creating a platform that people want to use. - [Narrator] Today, we're witnessing a convergence of trends, including social networks, the sharing economy, artificial intelligence, an ever-improving wireless connections and processing power. Together, they create a new data infrastructure, the emerging fabric of tomorrow's urban mobility systems.
But if data is the new engine, who owns it? Whose interests govern its use? And what will we as citizens gain in return? - If we can just share data in a secure and predictable way, it's actually possible to immediately build services that combine these different types of transport. - So creating a data governing structure, that we can actually manage the data. What the city cares about for data is can we see a dashboard of how all the different services are being optimized or utilized and how people are moving round the city? And we care about things like safety, Vision Zero. Wanna see fatalities go down to zero. Wanna see collisions go down because that costs us a lot of money in the economy.
There's a lot of zeros. Wanna get to zero emissions, zero waste, zero pollution. Zero noise.
We don't wanna have a noisy city with transportation. All those zeros, get us to a lot of pluses. More affordable, easier. It's actually fun. Imagine having a city that's fun? So transport becomes fun and exciting and it's part of that everyday life. - One of the things that we're working on at Ford, that I'm very excited by, is to create a platform in which all the transportation assets are talking to each other.
- One of the most important innovations of the iPhone was the concept of it being a platform for others. In order for large scale transformation of how we make use of the opportunities that are already there, in terms of new types of mobility services, you also need to think in terms of platform. It's a government responsibility to make sure that the platform is in place, not in terms of an iPhone but in terms of the data that makes it possible to connect these new services that will create a market. We need a public good platform. That means the mandates, the responsibilities to make sure that mobility data can be shared and the businesses, you know, solutions, apps, etc, can be built on that.
We need to get that in place. - [Narrator] Autonomous vehicles have already come a long way, and their allure is hard to deny. Used wisely, they may be able to drive more safely, more efficiently, and with little to no need for on-street parking. But what exactly do we wanna use them for? Who will own them and what problems might they help us solve? Despite widespread public fascination we're a long way from understanding how these machines might fit into our daily lives. - Autonomous vehicles will move people, goods and services. - We know are everything is, whether it's a person or good, GPS, and they can communicate to us, where they wanna go.
And we know the state of all other vehicles that can serve that demand, and we can optimize the use of all of that so that we use it as efficiently as possible, and we can tailor the vehicle to the purpose of the trip. So now it's possible we could get into, what I call, a value network, the movement of goods that support our daily lives. Where suddenly we no longer have to think in terms of maximizing the weight of a load in order for the freight system to make sense. That gives us a chance to look at the big challenge on infrastructure, which was the cost of repairing bridges, the cost of replacing roads, and perhaps begin to rethink that.
- So delivery vehicles don't have to look like cars at all, they can be something as simple as a suitcase on wheels. They can't kill their cargo, they don't need crumple zones, they don't need windshields. They don't need all these things we think about in cars. So they can be small, they can be cheap, they can be efficient. - There's a big productivity opportunity here.
Whether it's a movement of people or the movement of goods. There's a huge safety opportunity because in order for a car to drive itself it's gonna have to avoid these crashes. A huge energy opportunity because we can get these vehicles to be lighter. (gentle music) - [Narrator] 90% of American car trips involve just one or two people. This means that for a vast majority of trips, less than 2% of the car's energy is used to move the people in, the rest is spent propelling a 4,000 pound mass of steel glass, and rubber. But what if there was an autonomous vehicle fleet, designed for full occupancy at all times? What if we could boost average energy efficiency up from two to 10, or even 20%? - About 30% of the land, overall, in cities is used for roads and parking.
Now imagine that changing because of the driverless vehicle and that man gets freed up and the value creation that comes from that opportunity. - So, A, policy, we need to put a very high price on zero automated vehicles, and B, we have to really push and think hard about having shared trip, shared cars, autonomous vehicles. That is to share trips that are going to right size the vehicles that will transform congestion.
- So in the end, all transit is is shared mobility. The idea that each person has their own vehicle or their own Uber driver is the dilemma of making human-scale places. - [Narrator] The form, purpose, ownership and routing of these vehicles are all open to new design paradigms.
The average sedan is eight times larger than the footprint of a seated human, an obscenely inefficient use of space. - So what we have to be careful about when we think about automated, driverless, shared vehicle systems, we have to get a different mental model than what we've traditionally thought about with cars. And therefore, I'd like to view this more as a new mode that's coming into the mix. - [Narrator] There's little question that, sooner or later, the era of automated mobility services will arrive, but exactly when, where and to what extent remains unclear. The key is to consider how automation can help us meet everyone's local needs.
Which mobility these systems will serve us best, save us the most time, road space and energy? Which will promote equity and benefit people with impaired mobility? This is a huge opportunity to rethink who our mobility system serve, and how we integrate them into our various urban fabrics. - The shift over is going to be into a world, not where you have the option of subscribing to a car, but the situation where actually owning a car does not make economic sense, and driving your own car isn't worth the trouble because subscribing is so much easier and it gives you so many more options. - So today you've got cars, vehicles, energy, or oil and insurance being sold, and in the future there's an opportunity to sell trips, miles and experiences. - That you get something better than ownership, which is access.
- Mean, Moore's law is definitely in effect and we are seeing real changes, and I think one of the things that's gonna be hard for all the manufacturers to keep up with is the rate of change. Because we used to change at the rate of hardware, now we're changing with the rate of software. It's a very different cadence. - The automobile will always be with us, the same as horses are still with us, they just don't maintain the same economic importance that they used to. They won't be what the average person relies on to get to work every day. (gentle music) - [Narrator] Imagine waking up to find that the cars in your city have simply vanished.
Instead of fuel exhaust, you might smell the flowers or the sea. Instead of roaring engines you might hear birdsong. (birds chirping) Everywhere you look, meanwhile, there's a newfound abundance of calm and space. The wide lanes. The parking lots. The open curbside.
Everything is now, a blank slate. - We are pedestrians, human beings, we are, we could say, walking animals, the way, birds need to fly or deer need to run, we need to walk. We need to walk in order to be happy. A city model is only a means to our way of life. I believe that any income level, good city can make people much happier. - But for so long we've really planned as though there's gonna be one choice, and that is to own a car and to have each person get in their own car for every trip.
If there are many multiples times more parking spaces in this country than there actually are vehicles, reflecting this planning philosophy of, I have to have my car with me at all times. - And so reducing parking requirements makes housing more affordable. It also reduces the likelihood of car ownership among the people who live in that building and increases the likelihood that they're going to use sustainable transportation options, like shared mobility, like transit, walking and cycling, as their preferred way of getting around.
- [Narrator] With more than half the world's population living in cities, there are a few commodities more valuable than urban space. To fill the space, we must decide what we value most, is it speed, parking and personal convenience? Or health, green spaces and social life? - I can move 10 times as many people per square foot of roadway on foot or bike or on a bus, than I can in a car. So as cities are growing they have no choice but to invest in the more space-efficient modes of transportation. - [Narrator] Some cities have already begun this necessary shift. In Oslo, Barcelona and across the Netherlands, private cars are beginning to be banned entirely from city centers.
Policies like these that promote car-free cities, more human-powered transport and smaller, more efficient vehicles are all promising places to start. - Barcelona is involved in a urban mobility plan. The main aspects of this urban mobility plan is to liberate the maximum public space today related with mobility. We need to include the leisures, the interchange, the culture, the democracy. They are the citizen rights that we want include in our city, inside of a new urban cell in the superblocks. The superblocks is like a little village.
Our interest is how the economy grow up, and at the same time, how the relationship between the citizens is also. The key aspect of the superblock is the speed. The maximum speed 10 kilometers per hour. Then all the vulnerable people are included in our city. - The kind of focus that creates the human synergy, that is what makes cities great. And great culturally, great economically.
It is that human-scale interaction, the proximity of differences that make cities vital. It's about a coherent system of city building that involves all the ingredients mobility, housing, accessibility to job locations, accessibility to mixed-use environments. - We really need to shift our policy when it comes to transportation, away from this idea of building the new stuff and building the next new big piece of infrastructure, and towards the idea of preserving what we have effectively and operating effectively.
- And that's where you can see a very powerful relationship between community-level decision making and then city level decision making. With sort of things that cities can do, like a metro system or coordinate transport across the city, and then the kind of thing a community can do, which is figure out what to do with the street outside its window. Both of those systems need to be spinning at the same quality and dynamic, and working with each other and it's very joined up way.
- The same as a cell phone is really nothing without its network, transportation requires a network, and so a vehicle can't just be a standalone product. There needs to be a complete system that supports that product. - This moment of innovation, in transportation, is a very important one for the future of public transit. And it's incumbent on public transportation agencies, and the policymakers, who govern those agencies to be looking at the capabilities of these new on-demand services and automated vehicles, and thinking about how they can actually incorporate these technologies into the way that public transit is delivered. - Transforming into sustainable solutions, it's actually the key to staying competitive.
And the key driver for innovation at this moment. - [Narrator] There's little question that the world's transportation systems deserve a fundamental rethinking, and many communities are already benefiting from the first steps of transformation. This momentum is crucial because the survival of our civilization depends on it.
(gentle music) - There are a lot of major car companies who are thinking, "Where are we gonna be in 10 years? "And what is our company, what is our brand about? "Is it about the physical car "or is it about transportation?" - If you're worried about the long term, as I've always been, then it really requires you to not only embrace change but frankly go seek it. - New ideas are never born with majority support. But they have to be born and proposed.
So that's first, you know, I love what Gandhi once said. "At first, they ignore you. "Then they mock you.
"After that they attack you. "And then you win." So it takes time, but in the same way it was ridiculous to propose that women should vote, 100 years ago. So at first thing we have to be conscious of the problem because, again, as I say, sometimes we have these realities that are in front of our nose, and we do not even see how horrible it is, what we have today. - We have to do this iterative, adaptive maneuver where we try bit by bit. So, we start with understanding the street and researching it and measuring it.
We start then, introducing, let's say, some bike-sharing hubs or scooter-sharing hub, in some way. Where you'd start putting some planter boxes in, where you start putting some street amenities, places to sit back in. We start pulling trees back towards it, bit by bit.
We start borrowing back bits of parking and using them for something else, whether that's cafe, a table tennis court or a meetup place. And over that kind of series of maneuvers we're then able to introduce, "What we also try "an autonomous shuttle drop off point here?" for instance. During that time, we can bring people with us on that journey because it's gonna be a slow process. We can have a conversation about it. We do it bit by bit. And it enables you to start tomorrow.
It's not saying we now need to go into a 10 year building program, it's something you could start literally tomorrow in most streets around us. - One analogy, which isn't perfect, but it's used occasionally, is the analogy of Kennedy saying, "We need to put a man on the moon "and bring him back within our generation." And that was the kind of goal that everybody could understand. Can we now do a similar thing for societal transformation? To actually formulate and address common, really ambitious, clear goals, where we look at the systems then and see how can we all work towards that. - I want to dream a city for citizens. Because we include inside of this idea the peaceful of the little village inside of the big cities, and at the same time, you assure the functionality and mobility and organization of the city.
If you can make this, you will have the best city that you can dream. What is the most important, inside of the cities? People. At the end we want to develop a city for citizens, not for cars. (gentle music) - [Narrator] The ways we move reveal a lot about ourselves, and the current crisis is an opportunity to see our society and its values more clearly. So how do we want to move? And what future do we want to build together? Already thousands of communities, innovators and urban leaders are answering these questions with meaningful interventions, and a new generation is demanding and taking action.
Let's join them in rethinking what roles we want our mobility systems to play. Start by taking a walk, not as a last resort, but as a first step in exploring where it is we wanna go, and what they may discover along the way. Together let's experiment and learn how true freedom of movement can transform the spaces we share, the lives we live and the world we inhabit.
Let's rediscover what it means to move. ♪ I touched the earth but never the ground ♪ ♪ By footfall makes no sound ♪ ♪ Light the flame, light the fire, keys in my hand ♪ ♪ Ready to burn it down ♪ ♪ I ride the fire, ride the flame ♪ ♪ Move so fast I have no name ♪ ♪ Can't slow me down, with the wind in my hair ♪ ♪ Ready to run, run, run, run ♪ ♪ I touched the earth but never the ground ♪ ♪ By footfall makes no sound ♪ ♪ Light the flame, light the fire, keys in my hand ♪ ♪ Ready to burn, burn, burn ♪ ♪ Like they're burning up ♪ ♪ I ride the fire, ride the flame ♪ ♪ Move so fast I have no name ♪ ♪ Can't slow me down, the wind in my hair ♪ ♪ Ready to run, run, run, run ♪ ♪ Till I run out of time ♪ ♪ The stillness is teeming ♪ ♪ Come, come close and close your eyes ♪ ♪ Your nerves alive, alive, alive ♪ ♪ The silence is seething ♪ ♪ Stay, stay still a while alive, adjust your eyes ♪ ♪ Forget you were ever in sorrow here ♪ (gentle rock music) ♪ Just below the road a tangle of roots remembers my name ♪ ♪ Lights a flame, lights a fire, keys in my hand ♪ ♪ Ready to slow it down ♪ ♪ I touched the earth, feel the ground ♪ ♪ Stand so still and make no sound ♪ ♪ I hear the whisper low ♪ ♪ Get ready to run, we've run out of time ♪