Hate traffic? Ditch your car.
At least that's Nat Parker's advice. Parker—CEO of Daimler-owned, smart transit company moovel—spoke at TechfestNW in April about the future of transportation in Portland.
"Cars opened freedom for us," Parker says, "but it is possible we have organized our cities too fundamentally around the automobile? Have we missed an opportunity to have rich and vibrant city centers where people, bicycles and shared transportation can be the priority?"
Parker says that single driver-cars are to blame for pollution, traffic, car crashes and wasted space to parking.
Parker's solution: a transit user's bill of rights.
Around the nation, Parker says, people are using public transportation less—whether because of aging or failing infrastructure, or the "cannibalistic tendencies" of rideshare companies. As new travel solutions are imagined, and new companies enter the market, Parker says a bill of rights will be crucial in keeping transit options equitable and sustainable.
"We believe that there are key things within environmental and social equity," Parker says, "that need to be protected and paramount to our vision. Public transit is the core and needs to remain in public hands—no turning this over or privatizing it to a rideshare company."
Beyond users holding rideshare companies accountable, Parker says cities need to be investing in infrastructure that doesn't include adding highway lanes.
"The key issue is: you can't build your way out of congestion," Parker say. "People will drive more if they think there is more room to do so. Oregonians need to use shared services, and there has to be the infrastructure to support it."
If Portlanders want to improve connectivity between different quadrants of the city, Parker says residents will need to "put your money where your mouth is and support infrastructure development."
"For the same reason you support education even if you don't have kids," Parker adds, "you should support public transit solutions—because we all benefit."
Watch Parker's full TFNW 2018 talk here.