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The Big Switch

Nov 19, 2021

Electric autonomous vehicles shuttle us to high-tech mass transit hubs. Our fare system is contactless. We’ve already paid via a customized, equitable subscription model. All the trains and buses are on time. And we don’t have to wait in traffic. This is a world in which we can hop in a car to get somewhere, but we don’t have to.

In this episode, the second in our five-part series on transportation, Dr. Giovanni Circella paints a picture of a net zero world in which public transportation improves our quality of life, while also reducing carbon emissions. 

What will it take to get there?

Dr. Circella and Dr. Melissa Lott talk about electrifying transit, coordinating autonomous vehicles for the public benefit, land use planning, fare pricing, and why so many in developing countries aspire to car ownership. 

And we tell the story of TransMiCable, an electric cable car system in Bogotá, Columbia, and the researchers who are tracking the impact on the long commutes and air quality for residents of some of its poorest neighborhoods.

Guests: Dr. Giovanni Circella directs the 3 Revolutions Future Mobility Program at UC-Davis and is a Senior Research Engineer at Georgia Tech. Dr. Olga Lucia Sarmiento is a Professor of the Department of Public Health at the School of Medicine at Universidad de los Andes. Brett Marsh is a journalist and photographer based in Oakland, CA. 

The Big Switch is produced by Columbia University's Center on Global Energy Policy in partnership with Post Script Media. This episode was produced by Daniel Woldorff and Alexandria Herr. Theme music and mixing by Sean Marquand. A special thanks to Natalie Volk, Kirsten Smith and Kyu Lee. Our executive editor was Stephen Lacey.