My main message – the future of personal transportation should be similar to the history of personal transportation – walking, biking and public transit. Electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles and advanced air mobility are simply continuations of the same thing we have been trying for a century – cars and car dependence. As should be clear, cars are not working well, and we can’t solve our car problem with more car-ing.
I was interviewed for an article in the Christian Science Monitor about the impacts of the COVID pandemic on public transit. The reporter did a nice job of summarizing my thoughts on the role of public transit at this moment in history:
Self-driving cars offer some hope to reduce pollution in the near future. Yet progress has been slow, says Professor Miller, and autonomous vehicles aren’t likely to enter city streets within the decade. Even at their electrified best, he says, cars are still an inefficient form of transportation, and hence an imperfect solution to the climate crisis.
In his opinion, the moment demands a grand shift in thought. If viewed as a foundational piece of urban infrastructure, public transit could expand this decade and cement a larger role in the transportation ecosystem. Permitting residents a larger menu of options when traveling – say biking, walking, or riding buses or subways – would help conserve city space, lower spending, and protect the environment.