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Why Buses Represent Democracy in Action (TED video)

"An advanced city is not one where even the poor use cars, but rather one where even the rich use public transport," argues Enrique Peñalosa. In this spirited talk, the former mayor of Bogotá shares some of the tactics he used to change the transportation dynamic in the Colombian capital… and suggests ways to think about building smart cities of the future.

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  1. I had a conversation with a colleague just yesterday about how she got to work. Her husband drops her off on the way (she works just outside of the city) to his workplace in the city. She made a good point. Public transport would actually work out more expensive than driving, even considering the amount they pay for a permanent car park.

    I challenged her about the cost to the environment. The conservation took a turn for the worst and echoed, I am sure, the sentiment of many middle-class commuters. “I don’t give a toss about the environment. I just want to be able to get to work and for it not to cost too much. Sorry, but somethings have to be put to the back – I have my priorities”. I was shocked with what my colleague said but at the same time it was a wait off. I knew this was the feeling and I thanked her for letting it out.

    Obviously, though, this is a state of mind that needs some work. People seem to think we can make progress by maintaining the existing standards of living. I do not agree. Some things, at least, have to change. Transportation is one of those things. We need to see it for the positive that it can be not just from an environmental point of view but for the other yields that it produces. Catching public transport takes much of the stress away from commuting – no longer do you need to have your eyes fixed on the long strip of grey in front of you, not knowing what the fellow to your right is going to do. You can sit back and use the time productively – to read, knit, write, listen to music, play games, stare into the distance, people watch, work… The opportunities – the potential yields – are many. But people continue to see it as an inconvenience; as a step below driving. It’s high-time they saw motoring for what it is.

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