Innovation Hub Podcast
2:51 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Ed Rendell is Mad About Traffic

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Former Governor Ed Rendell says the U.S. transportation system is ill-equipped to handle the demands of the 21st century.
Credit Hamed Saber / Wikimedia Commons

Guest:

If you’ve ever sat behind the wheel of a car – especially between, say, the hours of 6 to 9 in the morning, or 4 to 6 at night – you’ll know exactly what Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell means when he says he’s fed up with traffic. “What frustrates me,” Rendell says, “is traffic delays because we haven’t kept up with capacity.” Since 1980, the number of vehicles on the road has increased by 104%, while lane capacity has inched forward by only 4%. So Rendell decided to do something about it.

Rendell – along with former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenneger - has rolled out a mobile app called“I’m Stuck.” Sitting in traffic, or waiting on the tarmac? Enter your address and the app will help you send a message to your elected officials urging a renewal of America’s public transportation system.

But for Rendell, an app is only the beginning. In the long run, he looks to transportation innovations in countries like Japan and China – home of quiet, efficient, high-speed Maglev trains – as a model for America’s future. Easing up traffic isn’t only a matter of convenience: it’s vital for revitalizing cities and encouraging young, competitive graduates to bring their talents there. "If I was a young MIT engineer," Rendell says, “I’m going to a city that has modern, first class transportation. I don’t want to drive my car. I don’t want to sit in traffic for three hours.” And not sitting in traffic for three hours is something we can all get behind.

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