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PODCAST: Transportation Is the Heart of Cities

When you think about how to build more resilient cities, does transportation come to mind? Whether we realize it or not, mobility — the choices we make to get where we need to go — is top of mind every day. Your morning commute can influence your entire day. Your ability to obtain or keep a job depends on your access to reliable, safe transit. And the future of our global environment depends on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

For these reasons and more, "transportation is the center of the universe," says Robin Chase in a new WRI podcast.

Maybe not the universe—but transportation is definitely at the heart of cities, which is why Robin Chase, co-founder and former CEO of Zipcar, is now executive chair of NUMO, the New Urban Mobility alliance, which creates the partnerships and tools for community leaders, NGOs, companies and residents to build successful, lasting and equitable urban transportation.

In this podcast, Lawrence MacDonald, WRI Vice President, interviews Chase and NUMO Director Harriet Tregoning about how communities are incorporating technological innovations in ridehailing, micromobility and autonomous vehicles—and how cities aspiring to become more sustainable, just and joyful must rethink the transportation status quo, which has long been dominated by cars.

Tregoning served in the Obama Administration at the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development and formerly was the Director of the District of Columbia Office of Planning under two mayors. 

Both Chase and Tregoning view mobility as a gateway to opportunity. But cities can't build that better future in a vacuum. As they explain in the podcast, NUMO's work began with the Shared Mobility Principles for Livable Cities, an innovative and provocative set of 10 guidelines to help urban decision-makers and stakeholders move toward the best mobility outcomes for all. NUMO takes the Shared Mobility Principles, which now have over 160 signatories (including Uber and Lyft), and puts them into action through innovative pilot projects and research, public engagement campaigns and policy development.

"Transportation is a huge part of how we make cities more wonderful, more livable, more equitable," explains Tregoning. "I firmly believe they are human kind's finest creation, and they could, especially in the U.S., be much, much better places for everybody to be living." With the Shared Mobility Principles in hand, NUMO aims to make that happen.

NUMO is hosted by WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities

Listen to the podcast here:

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