This week the Sundance Channel’s eco series Big Ideas For A Small Planet takes a look at transportation. As a race, humans are incredibly wasteful in the way we move from one place to another.

Janette Sadik-Khan the commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation shares her views. New York is a traffic nightmare, too many cars, too few roads, the solution, Public Transportation. The MTA is the organization that oversees buses, trains, and ferries. By finding better ways to provide public transportation, ways that provide incentives for people to use the service. London, England has instituted a scheme where the ‘city’ charges a toll to enter. New York is seriously considering this as a way of keeping traffic out. As Sadik-Kahn explains “We cannot build our way out of the problem, We are not going to Triple deck all of the roads”.

The MTA has created a very sustainable public transportation system.

Portland, Oregon is our second stop. Many cities have made cycling an ‘extreme sport’. It is dangerous to get on a bicycle, trucks and cars pay little heed to the average cyclist. Mia Birk is the Co-Owner of Alta Planning And Design, a company who specializes in helping communities develop pedestrian and cyclist friendly environments.

Segment three of this weeks program takes us to the ‘Brainiacs’ of the MIT Media Lab. They are looking at different personal transportation options. A personal ‘city car’ is one option, a two seater electric, and stackable car, swipe your credit card, drive to your destination and park it.  Essentially it is a cab, without a driver.

You can catch Big Ideas For A Small Planet – Transport on Tuesday on the Sundance Channel at 9pm. You can also check out their web site.

Simon Barrett

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