How a Manufactured Car Culture Blocks Transit

The United States is famous for its car culture. But a hundred years ago, pedestrians didn’t want cars to take over the streets — and it took decades of pressure and lobbying by car companies to make them feel otherwise. Today, traffic jams, maintenance and pollution make cars more like the cigarette no one wants to quit. Urban areas have grown up and spread out along ever widening highways with parking spaces required for each new building, further entrenching the car into our lives and choking cities with smog. Public transit holds tremendous possibilities for reducing our transportation emissions while better moving people through cities. But there’s a lot to overcome when trying to change the mobility model in most American cities, starting with the lack of good public transit and the high costs of construction. How can we make good public transportation work in America? Guests: Peter Norton, associate professor of history at the University of Virginia; author of Fighting Traffic and Autonorama Eric Goldwyn, assistant professor at the NYU Marron Institute of Urban Management;  co-founder of the Transit Costs Project Amanda Eaken, director of transportation for the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge at the Natural Resources Defense Council Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

by Climate One