Transportation is the number one source of greenhouse gas emissions. Nat Parker, CEO of Moovel (soon to be Reach Now), the Portland-based urban mobility company behind TriMet's ticketing app, says we need to invest in public transportation in order to halt the impending climate crisis.
During a talk at TechfestNW in April, Parker described Moovel's push to build a congestion-free future.
"Our vision is truly to create a planet without traffic jams," Parker said. "Not saying categorically you can't have a car, but saying, you know what, if you're going to drive to a Blazers game why not take the light rail?"
Parker, who is a bit of a darling in the start up community, due to his charismatic vision and the fact that when he sold his company Globe Sherpa to Daimler (where he continues to run the renamed and expanded company) he made a lot of money for local investors, stressed that single-occupancy cars, including Ubers and Lyfts, are not a sustainable long-term option.
"Studies have shown that TNCs (Transportation Networking Companies) in fact are adding to congestion," Parker said. "60 percent of the people who use Uber or Lyft said that they would have taken public transportation if Uber or Lyft were not an option."
Moderator, and WW publisher, Mark Zusman asked Parker why public transit popularity in Portland, which boasts one of the best mass transportation systems in the U.S., pales in comparison to cities in Europe. Parker says part of the problem is the way transportation systems are funded in America, which is a payroll tax that "floats with the health of the economy."
In order to incentivize public transportation use, Parker says wealthy people need to invest more in public projects.
"We need rich people to invest in the stuff that moves everybody, not just themselves," Parker said. "If you're driving your Mercedes or your BMW to Catlin Gabel you are still stuck in traffic…Giving everyone quick and easy access [to public transportation] lifts all boats."