Curbing Cars: A Transatlantic Dialogue on New Urban Mobility

By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , /

– To begin with, it’s a topic that I think is of absolutely critical importance to all of us here in New York and in other major cities. It impacts our daily life, our health, our global climate, and much more. But I’m doubly delighted to
be welcoming you to this event because we’re partnering
with another institution, the German Consulate
General here in New York. Who has really become a wonderful and trusted friend in our shared endeavor and leading to more
environmentally sustainable paths. This is actually the fifth program that we’ve done together with the Consulate General of Germany and we’re really thrilled
to be able to share lessons on how jurisdictions in the
United States and Germany are grappling with a number
of shared challenges. So thank you very much for
your continued support. I’m also very pleased that we’ve been able to assemble such an expert group here tonight to discuss these issues. I won’t provide in-depth biographies because I want to make the most of the time we have available and we have them all printed out. But I will just briefly introduce them. Starting off, we have a very special guest who’s flown in all the way from Germany. Professor, Doctor Claudia Kempford who is department head of Energy, Transportation, and Environment at the German Institute
for Economic Research. We also have Thomas Matti, Senior Lecturer in Environmental Health Sciences at the Mailman School of Public Health. And Jen Roberton,
Transportation Policy Advisor at the New York City Mayor’s
Office on Sustainability. Just to provide a little bit of a roadmap with how the evening will be structured. Tom is gonna start us off by providing an overview of the public health impacts of vehicular emissions and our reliance on car travel more generally. Then we’ll turn it over
to Professor Kempford who will give our keynote address on German municipal efforts to
reign in vehicular emissions and shift to more sustainable modes. And finally, Jen will give us an overview of some of the exciting initiatives that New York City is
pursuing in this regard. So in a moment I’ll hand
things over to them, and of course we’ll have a Q and A both led by myself and also
provided an audience Q and A. But before I hand it over to our speakers I would like to warmly welcome Hans Janu Deputy Consul General of New York to provide a few remarks. (applause) – Thank you very much, and by the way, I’m not the Consul General of New York, but the Consulate General of Germany. (audience laughing) – Well we’ll have you. – And I know exactly what you mean, yeah. Okay, so good evening everyone. I would like to thank you all for joining us tonight for our talk: Curbing Cars, Transatlantic
Dialogue on New Urban Mobility. First of all, special thanks
to Danielle Spielfeld, a few years ago she started (mumbles), transatlantic dialogue together
along with my colleagues at the German Consulate General, many of them have already left. So they don’t remember, but
beginning of this series, but you remember that. The talks focused on issues
like climate, sustainability, or energy efficiency, and have always been a very
fruitful and meaningful exchange of opinions and ideas from both sides of the Atlantic. All over the world,
societies are confronted with the same problems, either because they effect us
globally like climate crisis or because our lifestyle
causes the same problems in different locations. The solutions for these problems will not be found in the
small national context. Quite the contrary, our times call for a very strong
international cooperation. Worldwide our cities are
growing bigger and bigger. When municipalities are
facing numerous challenges to adapt to a growing population. One problem is the
increasing number of cars. There are various reasons for this, a struggling public transport system, or the unavailability
of local transit at all, the proximity to the next station, or sometimes it is
simply about convenience. The result, be it in Berlin, or New York, and I know many other
cities where it’s much worse than in these two cities I just named. The result is all the same, too many cars. Additionally, the health
effects are drastic, and make it imperative for cities to act to protect their citizens. There is no one size fits
all solution to this problem. This is why events like
tonight are so important. It is my pleasure to
welcome our three speakers. Some of them have a shorter
journey than others, but as a German please
allow me to welcome, to give an especially warm welcome, to Professor Doctor Claudia Kempford, head of the department of Energy and Transportation and Environment at the German Institute
of Economic Research. Who came all the way from Berlin to us. The two other speakers, you
will be introduced I assume, by a little bit in details, so I don’t have to duplicate this. Ladies and gentlemen I wish you a very enlightening discussion. And I’m sure we will have one. Thank you very much. (audience applauding) (chairs squeaking)
(clothes rustling) – Good evening everyone, I
wanna thank you all for coming. And thank Danielle for inviting me and for the German Consulate
for hosting this event, sponsoring this event. It’s very exciting for me to be here. The picture here on the
left of the Magic Motorway, is from the 1939 New York Worlds Fair. And that picture
reflected sort of a vision of urban mobility in New York, that Robert Hook was
(coughing drowns out speaker) a very famous urban planner, official, he fought a battle about
extending that vision very close to where we are right now running 5th Avenue through
Washington Square Park, with Jane Jacobs, an activist and a, sort of a citizen civil urban
planner from Greenwich Village and also on Broom Street
just a few blocks from here where the lower Manhattan Expressway was proposed to be built
right across lower Manhattan. So, it’s fitting that we’re here. And I wanna just quickly
give a very brief overview of air pollution and health. I’m gonna use a New York City lens, because I worked for several years for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and air pollution starting with
the Bloomberg administration during the development of plaNYC and the first attempt to implement congestion pricing in New York, back in 2007. I’m gonna talk about the urban geography of exposure to air
pollution in New York City. Social disparities in the
impact of air pollution. I will bring in somewhat the
global dimension of the problem because our air quality
is actually quite good relative to many places. And then I’ll wrap up
with saying a few things about the impact of cars
on health and well being beyond both air quality and
beyond congestion pricing. So I hope you’ll come away
from these brief remarks convinced that the problem
of air pollution and traffic is much more than about cars. The health impacts of cars are much more than about air pollution. And the solution to the health impacts of our dependence on
private motor vehicles goes well beyond congestion pricing. Okay, so what are the
common air pollutants that affect health directly as opposed to affecting
the global climate system? The most important globally
is fine particles PM 2.5, that refers to the size of the particle it’s important because of its ability to penetrate deep into the lungs. PM 2.5 is both a primary
and a secondary pollutant. Black carbon is often a
constituent of PM 2.5. Ultra fine particles are even much smaller and we’re exposed to them
close to traffic sources. And then coarse particles like
from braking and tire wear. Gaseous pollutants,
nitrogen oxides, like NO2. Sulfur dioxide, thankfully
it’s not much of an issue in New York City anymore. Carbon monoxide also has
been largely controlled. VOC’s are important,
volatile organic compounds, because they contribute
to other air pollutants including secondary PM and ozone. It’s important to remember
that in the real world, even though some of these pollutants are part of what’s
called traffic pollution or TRAP, traffic related air pollution, that in the real world,
especially New York City, we’re all exposed to a mix
of both pollutant types and pollution sources. And New York City buildings are relatively more important
source of all pollution compared to traffic, relative
to other cities in the U.S. Our pollution in New
York City comes both from local influences which is
what we usually think of when we think of traffic, but also distant sources like Midwestern coal fire power
plants and regional sources. And then within the city
we have urban hot spots where the sources tend to cluster. Even though when air pollution comes up in public meetings, in public concerns, the focus is often on pediatric asthma. Air pollution is a systemic toxicant, it causes systemic effects, inflammation, and other mechanisms effect virtually every organ system in the body. The cardiovascular system,
the respiratory system. Air pollution is a human carcinogen. Air pollution is now
been shown to be a cause of diabetes and diabetes mortality. It’s well established to be
a cause of low birth weight, the evidence is not yet
there to incorporate that into the global burden disease estimates. When we look at air pollution globally, most often people talk about deaths. It’s the fifth leading
cause of death globally. Most of those deaths
are from air pollution are in low/middle income countries like sub-Saharan Africa,
south and southeast Asia, most of the deaths from air pollution, the largest number or plurality are from cardiovascular disease, followed by chronic perspiratory disease, respiratory infection
like pediatric pneumonia, and diabetes, and cancer. Okay, so in New York City, we’re fortunate in having
a air pollution program called the New York City
Community Air Survey where we measure air pollution
at many more locations than is typical in cities in the U.S. And that program dates back to 2008. So based on that monitoring, we’re able to map air pollution
at a neighborhood level and really look at the spacial variation. And what we see is that for PM 2.5, the highest concentrations tend to be in the urban core of Manhattan and that’s where emissions from buildings and mobile sources come together. But because PM 2.5 has an
important regional component, emissions that cause particle formation outside New York City
and wash over the city, the variability in PM 2.5 is
much less from place to place than it is for nitrogen dioxide which is a primary pollutant,
comes right out the tailpipe. Nitrogen dioxide commonly is used globally as a marker of traffic
related air pollution, even though it comes from
basically all fuel combustion. So with traffic pollution we see both the hot spot in the urban core and we see the higher concentrations along some of the big highways and arterial roads in the outer burrows. Now, if we look at the portion of PM 2.5, PM 2.5 is the most important pollutant for affecting public health. And now we use methods of emissions data and atmospheric modeling, to apportion the amount
of PM 2.5 in the air in different parts of the city to the on road mobile sources. What we see from that, is that
actually PM 2.5 from traffic has a different pattern
and it tends to be, have a higher contribution in places like the Bronx, Northern Manhattan, and for our guests who are not familiar with the geography of New York City, if you look at Manhattan,
and you see Central Park, you’ll see on the, on the east side of Central Park a very sharp dividing line in terms of asthma emergency
department visit rates. So this is the separation
between the upper east side, which is one of the most affluent neighborhoods in the country, and east Harlem which is a
relatively poor neighborhood. So we see health susceptibility, in terms of the prevalence of asthma, and poor control of asthma is primarily a problem of
low income neighborhoods. And even though the worst
air quality in New York is actually not in the
high poverty neighborhoods, the biggest contribution
from traffic pollution is in these higher poverty neighborhoods within New York City. So, then if we look at the
impacts of air pollution, from traffic, PM from traffic, on health, what we see is that, there are several hundred
emergency department visits annually caused by traffic related PM. About 320 premature deaths from traffic related PM in adults. Most of that comes from PM emitted by trucks and
buses, not from cars. So then looking at why is
there such a wide disparity in the health impacts of traffic pollution within New York City? It’s due to two things,
one is, as I pointed out, the exposure to PM from buses and trucks is relatively higher,
maybe about 50% higher, in the poorest neighborhoods compared to the most affluent
neighborhoods in New York. But the susceptible population for having an asthma exacerbation from air pollution is much much larger, much more numerous, in the low income neighborhoods. So it is true that asthma
disparities in New York City are contributed to by air pollution, even though it’s not true that the worst air
quality in New York City is in the poorest neighborhoods. But for traffic related air pollution, low income neighborhoods
are most impacted. Now, what are some of the solutions, I’ve hope we’ll be talking about this more in subsequent speakers and the Q and A, to traffic related air pollution exposure. How can we reduce the health impacts? Well, one exposure mitigation option is to separate people from traffic. In New York City and during the first year of our Community Air Survey, it happened that Times Square was closed to vehicular traffic and we had a monitor in Times Square, and we were able to
observe that Times Square had been the highest NO2, had
the highest NO2 concentration prior to this conversion, but just the process of
moving the traffic away from that heavily
trafficked pedestrian area reduced the NO2
concentration in Times Square to be more similar to
other parts of Manhattan. Similarly, if you were
to go out to a suburban community in Queens, along
the Long Island Expressway, and measure NO2 at distances
perpendicular to the LAE what you would see is
that the concentration falls off pretty substantially so that by the time
you’re about 200 meters away from the LAE, the
traffic related air pollution is about half compared to
those who live much closer. So distancing people with pedestrian, pedestrian plaza’s, and other measures, cleaner vehicles, like
low emissions zones, I think you’ll hear more about that. And fewer vehicles which
is what congestion pricing is about. Even though the vehicles
that we’ll have fewer of maybe not the most polluting vehicles. Okay so just to wrap up, thinking more broadly about both traffic related air pollution and the impact of motor vehicles on both the environment and on people. If we think of the metropolitan area as being a system where
people have to move from one part of the
metropolitan area to the other, if we look at household per
capita greenhouse gas emissions. Here’s New York City, it’s kind of like the eye of a hurricane, in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. The suburban communities
around New York City have much higher per capita
greenhouse gas emissions. So, a climate action strategy that combines land use change
and a transportation policy, could serve a number of purposes
for health and well being. Now it would reduce
vehicle miles traveled, air pollution, and
greenhouse gas emissions. But, it also would create a
more efficient use of space to move people from place to place. It would, the amount of physical
activity that people get, even people who take
public transportation, everyone who takes public
transportation walks, or cycles, as part of their trip. Because it doesn’t go from your home to your destination typically. Reduce crash risks. More affordable housing
potentially could be created and if we combine the cost of
housing and transportation, vehicle costs, if more people could live
in affordable housing near public transit say
regional rail stations, it would help to address our
housing affordability crisis. These people would have more
access to jobs, services, and it’s been shown that
in sprawling metropolises, in the U.S., there tends to
be less economic mobility compared to the compact ones. Because of peoples ability
to access jobs and education. And finally, if you’re
someone who’s very concerned about conserving land, for farming, or for
habitat, or for watersheds, where we live, even though
it’s somewhat counterintuitive, is actually much greener than
living in a suburban community where the roads chop up the habitat, there’s actually more
paved land per person than there is in New York City, because of the way we live. So this compact urban development, would have multiple benefits for both people and for the environment. And to really tackle the problem of cars, I think we need to look at
a more systematic approach. So finally, circling back to Robert Moses, this is Inwood, right near my home, and this is Sealy who became
briefly a local celebrity, a harbor seal who has been hanging out the Columbia football field,
it’s not far from there, the Columbia boathouse is close. And this is a bridge
that Robert Moses built, to connect one of his
famous car only parkways from the Bronx to Manhattan,
it’s a beautiful bridge. But it was built in the 1930’s before people really were
able to sort of fight back against the vision of the car as the principal way of urban mobility. So thank you, and I look forward to– (audience applauding) – Just one moment and I’ll set up by– (audience members shuffling) – Thank you. Yeah, good evening everybody. It’s a pleasure to be here,
and thanks for the invitation, I’m really honored to
come over from Berlin to wonderful New York City, and figuring out that we have
almost the same difficulties in Berlin clean cities, I am cycling in Berlin which
is extremely dangerous. (audience laughing) And I figured out cycling in New York is even more dangerous. (audience laughing) No, but that’s an inspiration. I’ve been here since Monday night, and last few days I could watch and see you have bicycle lanes
which are green and separate which is good. We don’t have that in Berlin,
we have some bicycle lanes, but it could be more. But that’s part of the solution, where we just heard, that we
have really a problem to solve not only climate policy, but
emission reduction in cities to make them more clean and that has health issues which
is really really important. I would like to briefly highlight of the most recent study we did together with the Scientific Advisory
Board to the German government where we highlighted especially this issue and I’m pleased to present
also part of the work where me and my team and the team of the
Scientific Advisory Board did a lot of work here. So just briefly highlight, so why do we talk about curbing emissions, so air pollution we just heard, it’s one of the major problems, we’ve got some questions
which we would like to address also in the Q and A session later on. So my slides, particularly
focus on the main issues here. So nitrogen dioxide, we already heard, is particulate matter, and this is why we have
European air quality standards for the protecting human health and you see here, these are the standards, just a list of NO2 which is
40 microgram per square meter on average a year. And we had a lot of debate
in Germany about this, especially this value, and especially because we are exceeding in almost, in large amount of
cities, especially this value. And also part of the reason is
that German car manufacturers told us that they meet
this target, but uh… (audience laughing)
You all know the true story. (audience laughing) And that’s part of the
problem we really have. And the other one you
already heard these numbers, we have 25 microgram for particulates for the one year average
on hours measured. So this is the European standard we should all meet this,
whether or not we do it, I just briefly highlight. Here you see, this is in Germany, they are particulates at PM
10 on the annual mean levels. So this is development since 2000. You see it goes a little bit down especially the rural background, this is the green line. We have the yellow line which
is the urban background, the urban traffic as we already heard, it’s the largest one, it’s
going a little bit down, but it should be more steep. And that’s the main task that we have in order to reach that. Now this is the NO2 level, also the development of
the mean annual NO2 level for this three categories
I just presented, between 2000 and 2015. This is quite flat you
see, it’s not reducing in a way, it’s exceeding also the numbers in most areas, which is a problem and we should take care of this. So the annual limit level are
40 microgram per square meter for the NO2 is still
exceeded now in 57 cities. So it has been much larger numbers, where we had a lot of
discussions the last two years, you probably heard about it, how to reduce in many more cities, the NO2 emissions to a larger extent. So we started with 96 and now we ar 57, that’s quite a success,
all politicians tell us, although we as scientists,
and we heard about it, the health impacts are crucial, recommend to decrease this number to zero. So we should all meet, in
every city, these standards. Now, the source, we heard about already. Where does it come from? These are the numbers all for Germany. The sources for NO2 in cities, and here we see the part of the problem which is vehicle traffic of course which is the largest amount of sources. We have background, heating,
industries, and so on, but the traffic is, vehicle traffic is the
source of the problem so no excuses, we have to reduce it or we have to fix it in a certain way, especially if we look at this number, these are the diesel cars which
are at 72% of the problem. So this is in Germany quite crucial, and you already know that
the car manufacturers produce very many diesel cars and like to produce very many diesel cars so there’s an issue here that politicians need to also force the car manufacturers to get this numbers right. And also to reduce, of course, traffic and bring
alternatives on the screen especially to larger cities
like Berlin or New York. So now, here we have
nitrogen dioxide emissions of the diesel vehicles on
the road, driving conditions, it’s not the conditions the car manufacturers
would like to show us. (audience laughing) And here we see, that’s quite, I mean this is the
laboratory emission limit and this is always the
number I love to show, this is the laboratory emission limit when you buy the car they
tell us this is the number if you drive it, it looks much different. So right here we see all
the different kind of cars, so you see we have many
European cars here, starting from the Novo, and Volkswagen, and all the German car
manufacturers often a part of it, of the problem, but here you see that’s push on, so we need to really
reduce the NO2 emissions, nitrogen oxide emissions quite drastically and get the car manufacturers to reduce it very very soon and very very drastically. So, and the other part of the story you already heard about it,
is greenhouse gas emissions, we have to reduce CO2 emissions as well. And this is especially, these are the numbers again for Germany, relevant because we
are reducing emissions, this is the number here so
the staring point is 1990 and it has been reduced to a level of 73%. But you see here, this
is the transport sector which is the redlines going up. So that’s not the right
direction, it should go down. And this is why we have two issues here, one is the health impacts,
but on the other hand, also climate change. Now, if we look at this study on the different causes
of the CO2 emissions and we looked especially on
the transportation sector, no flights emissions are included here it’s just the traffic
or the transportation on the street and passenger
transport, train freight, and rail freight transport
is accounted here and here you see it’s 80% of
total emissions in Germany are coming from the transportation sector where we think is also one important part of why we should reduce. And here we have a cascade
of emission reductions, the first thing is to
reduce transportation, to reduce traffic, so all
the wasted ways we are doing and going with a car
from A to B all the time. And without any reason, it’s more healthy to
go by bike or by foot. And reduce the first stage, the transport volume drastically. To avoid unnecessary trips and just go a more healthy way of moving from A to B. Then the bundling of the
individual transportation modes, and the next step would be also to shift, to rail, of course, to
move as much as you can especiallY the transportation
of goods to rail. And the next step is
also energy efficiency, and then if we have reduced the transportation volume drastically, to produce renewable energy as a fuel, and also use more electric
mobility in any case so it’s rail but also cars and vehicles which should be electric. So here we see the bike modes. How many people love
biking, like many of us, in Germany in different cities in Germany, this is Berlin which is
15% which is not too bad. But it could be more. Here we have Germany, the landscape, it’s Southern Germany
where you have 10 to 11%. And in other areas for example, Northern Germany this is where I’m from, this is my home country, my home city, it’s 20 or 21% of the people go by bike. And that’s quite interesting because it’s a little bit increasing, so the more people bike the better. But of course, you need the
right circumstances to do that. Now, we want also to
talk about the measures. How we can solve the problem, how we can reduce the
negative impacts in cities. In Germany we acted in different ways. So we didn’t really manage to have a unified system
to reduce emissions and car manufacturers were not really able or willing
to reduce emissions, to a larger extent, so some
city started banning diesel cars Hamburg on two streets. That some lost 2.3 kilometers that just banned old diesel cars. So there has been a lot of debate whether this really reduces emissions because that’s not really a
check, it’s a random check, and the elimination will take
place the end of this year. But they already measured
that the nitrogen emissions went down by 13% in that area, so the discussion was about whether if we just closed two streets, they move around to avoid the streets so we have even more
traffic around these streets which were banned from diesel cars, but it did not happen
in that large extent. Now in Berlin, the ban
started in October 2019, so eight stretches of roads, in what will be 2.9 kilometers, and also random checks will happen so here they tried to reduce the emissions to the smallest effect on streets. And Damshagen which is a city
more on the south of Germany, the ban started in June 2019, and yeah it was the same
method and random checks, and Stuttgart is the most, I
would say interesting city, they had the largest problems
with a lot of traffic with a lot of emissions, and they started in January
2019 with cars and trucks. The old diesel cars before norms, are banned in the whole city. So that was quite substantial, and there has been already a reduction of nitrogen dioxide emissions from 71 to 59 micrograms
per cubic meter air and that’s quite substantial. So, it’s interesting because
Stuttgard is the city, is a town of car manufacturers. (audience laughing) And in this city it has a symbol, it is a symbol to move away
diesel cars from the whole city, in addition I have to say they also brought interesting public transportation modes into it and the Stuttgart people
like to bike as well so it moves a little bit
in the right direction. But it’s symptomatic, and so
if we can make it in Stuttgart, we can make it everywhere, we say. (audience laughing) Now, what has been done to reduce
air pollution from traffic, that was one of the question, also for the discussions of tonight. So there are different kind of options and we recommended to have a different kind of measures in place. First of all, the speed limit is crucial. Speed limit, I’ve seen
here several speed limit the way the streets in New York is plowed, but I didn’t really see
that they are so limited. I wasn’t quite sure about that, how fixed or how strong is
this measure, the speed limit. In Germany it would make sense
to reduce what we have now 15 kilometers per hour,
50 kilometers per hour, to reduce it to 30. And especially in cities. And we recommend greening and
strengthening public transport so public transportation
is crucial, of course, but also greening areas as well, to improve the infrastructure
for cycling, of course, pedestrians, and driving
bans for heavy duty vehicles. I think that’s also crucial because they should not
move freely into the center. And the construction of road bypasses is also extremely important. And also to make the
streets less car friendly. And to make it more bike friendly, more human being friendly, I would say. That’s part of how we can solve it. And what in Germany happened, is that we have some environmental zones. So this here, you can
see the different areas, where we have this environmental zones, not of this failure, in
Bad Budenbach in the South where we have this low emission zones, especially in the cities which we called (speaking in German) Only cars allowed who meet
our modern emission standards, very modern emission standards, and they have to get
an environmental badge in order to move into this area. And there are now 58 zones, in 61 cities, that have this introduced so far. So that’s quite growing and
it’s one part of the solution. Now, we recommended to also the advisory board in this report to reduce the air pollution from traffic especially here you say, this is an environmental zone, oh sorry, this is the
environmental zone in Berlin, here is where I work, here,
exactly there in the middle. (audience member laughs) And this is an environmental zone, of course by the numbers
here, it’s quite large and increasing emission
level which we see. So these streets where
this ban should happen is also in here in the middle, so we see that it’s
quite substantial area. Now, this is a recommendations to reduce the air pollution from traffic and you can see we have a
different kind of measures which we recommended here, this is on the one hand, the speed limit I already mentioned, but also, a shift of the
different modes of the transport and investment in a cycle friendly and pedestrian friendly
infrastructure already mentioned. And also, what is really important is to have an attractive
public transportation. And the cost should be low. And for example, in Berlin, if you go with a subway, and it’s possible to go in
the subway without ticket. Here it’s not possible, because
we have to buy it before and then you have to zap it in and go in. In Berlin you can go into
a subway without the ticket if you are catched and have to pay, you have to pay 60 euro, that’s the price you have to pay if you’re going without a ticket. If you go by car into the center, park it somewhere, and do
not buy a parking ticket, and get catched you pay 15 euro. (audience laughing) So it should be the opposite, so it should be 15 euro and there should be lower prices of course for public transportation, one euro a day or so, but the parking and the car
should be much more expensive. Especially parking in the center, must be extremely expensive, in order to avoid that
the cars are going in. That’s one part of it. So that’s the solution
we are recommending. Okay, but I don’t go through all of this, we can have the discussion later on, time is running over,
and we recommend also to have a blue badge for
the nitrous oxide emissions, for the NOX emissions, because these emissions should
be reduced also drastically you can do that with a regulated, in Germany, regulated way
of having a blue badge in addition to a green badge. So that you’re only allowed
to drive into that area where the green badge is option. As I already said, no parking, I mean making parking really expensive. That’s crucial and in Germany especially, and Berlin you have so
many parking spaces. Such a worthwhile, I mean
it’s such an important place, you can use it for green fields, you can use it for bicycles, you could use it for
kindergartens, whatever. You could use it for any
kind of interesting things, but not for cars. So that should be changed, so we need to make it more expensive. And then it might look like this. So we hope to have a more greener and more healthier city in the future. Thank you. (audience applauding) – I don’t have slides so, I don’t know, if you wanna stay over
there or come on up. My name is Jen Roberton, I’m at the mayor’s
office of sustainability here in New York. I’m a public servant that works
on climate change mitigation for the city of New York. Our main mandate is tracking greenhouse gas emissions city wide. So we do city wide inventory for transportation, building,
and waste emissions. We also track policy around mitigating climate change overall. I believe that climate change
is an existential threat, it’s why I do the work that I do, why I am in the office that I’m in today. I believe that the impacts
from climate change whether it be seeing more extreme storms or more extreme heat events, will impact those who
are most marginalized both locally and globally first and most. That’s the reason why a
lot of the information that Tom brought up
earlier around air quality kind of overlays very well with how we’re thinking of climate change. I really liked how you pulled
up that graph from 80 by 50 a road map on meeting our
climate change mitigation goals that showed that this
nearly two times the PM 2.5 from transportation in low
income areas in New York and nine times the
respiratory and asthma related hospitalizations and ER visits, that definitely overlays
where we’re gonna see the greatest climate
impacts as well in the city and globally again scaling it out. Climate change is a global issue. We need radical reductions
in greenhouse gas emissions in order to meet our Paris goals of 2.5 degrees of warming maximum. And we still are seeing warming, we’re just trying to
mitigate as much as we can how much we’re seeing
unfortunately at this point. And we need to see radical
change within 10 years, we don’t have a lot of time
to get to where we need to be. So we need a diversity of strategies whether it be long term land use changes, to short term adoption of new technologies in order to really be meeting our goals. In transportation, I
work in transportation very specifically in my office we need to see a 70% reduction
in greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector, by 2050. In order to do this, we need to have an 80% sustainable mode share by 2050. That looks like 80% of
trips to New York in 2050 need to be on a bike, need to be walking, or using the sidewalk in
someway to get around, or need to be on transit. And within transit, we also
need to see the electrification of MTA’s buses, they have a
2040 goal to be all electric and the cities definitely very
much so in support of that. We need the remaining 20% of trips realistically we can’t eliminate
the car entirely by 2050, we, the scale of our commercial
operations in New York to run a city of eight million people, of four million tourists a year, will need some vehicles,
accessibility needs as well. Folks, as I’ve seen my own family grow a lot older in particular, there’s more and more trips in a car. As well as people with disabilities, we know a vehicle will
need to exist in some form. Whether it be more efficient
share, hopefully also electric, zero emission vehicles as their offices, mandate portfolio, my own portfolio, and right now today we have a 64% sustainable
mode sharing in New York. That’s up from 62% last year. So we’re seeing an increase
in sustainable modes, we’re seeing an increase
in walking in particular. Walking is still the most
used mode in New York. And part of that is land use, we have an incredibly dense city. 78% of the trips in Manhattan are walking. Manhattan’s the densest part of the city. Getting closer to 10 to 20% , probably closer to 10% in Staten Island, a much less dense area of the city where we see a lot more folks driving just due to the way that that burrow is set up typology wise. We need to create a car optional city. We need to electrify
our freight logistics, we need to get people on
transit and onto active modes. And again land use is key here
to making that all happen. We see most of our transportation emissions
outside Manhattan, so 80% of the carbon emissions in New York that contribute to climate change within the transportation portfolio, are trips that begin and
end in the outer burrows. We’re not seeing a lot
of traffic happening in Manhattan relative to
the scale of the city. So I focus on electric mobility, I work with the micro mobility scale, so Pelesys bikes, pro
bikes, that sort of stuff up to freight logistics. A few projects that I’ll touch upon now. I do wanna get to the Q and A, and the panelists and I’m really excited to hear what you have to say about this. But in terms of our EV infrastructure, we’re right now working on getting access to electric vehicle fast
charging in all five burrows, we have a drove of charging
access in the Bronx and Staten Island is actually the least number of chargers there, and the most number of
charges in Manhattan where they make the least sense to be. (audience laughing) And a lot of that has to do with income, a lot of it has to do with
if I’m a private business I’m looking at where I can make money, which is kind of how that works which is why the city’s going forward and saying hey we wanna make sure that people in the burrows are adopting EV where maybe hopping on
a train isn’t as easy. We also have a grant right now through the US Department of Energy, it’s New York, it’s
Seattle, city of Seattle, city and county of Denver, and Forth Mobility based out of Portland and in each city we have our own version of electrifying shared mobility there’s some folks working
more so on car share, our focus is actually on
the for-hire vehicle sector which is really interesting right now, a lot of movement’s happening right now in New York around that. We recently passed, or extended the cap on new for-hire vehicle licenses. The for-hire vehicle fleet tripled, with the advent of opt
based companies in Europe, we’re up to roughly 180,000
for-hire vehicles in New York. Our office tracked that
greenhouse gas emissions in the for-hire vehicle sector went up 62% between 2013 and 2018 that’s a huge jump, I
mean that’s an incredible, so definitely trying to mitigate that by, I mean the best way to mitigate that, is to remove the number of vehicles or cap the number of
vehicles being added on. But there is some natural attrition happening to the fleet already. We want some of those
vehicles to be replaced by electric vehicles. That’s gonna help us make the
business case for charging to get some of these freight operators to hop on electric as well. So we’re installing six
chargers to support that. We are doing a level two curbside pilot, so we’re working with Con Edison, the utility company that
they’re funding this. On the curb you’ll see 100
parking spots in New York with a level two charging pedestal, which charges a car in
around four to six hours and we’re exploring right
now how we can pair that with some of our shared mobility and unloading some projects
with more to come on that. We also have a open RFEI right now through the Economic
Development Commission, EDC, this is building
on the clean trucks plan that came out last year, so we’re already leveraging our freight real estate, our ports, to ask people, to ask vendors, hey here’s our real estate,
how are you gonna help us get electric trucks here, using our land how can we
get to zero emission freight, a low emission freight? I’m really excited about
the cargo bikes right now, our DOT’s also working right now, three vendors around helping
them do less mile deliveries, using an e-assist bike. And we have current open
conversations on that with more to come as well. And tracking micro-mobility ledge, I know that a lot of folks here probably following this happening
at the state level on that. So we’re tracking that and
hoping to get a bill signed at some point and moving
forward from there on the state level. And also tracking at cafe standards, that presentation from Claudia reminded me about our letters
on the cafe standard rollback and New York City’s involved in it and support around California’s
current legal action against the cafe standard rollback, so it’s like a sweeping
kind of cliff notes of what we’ve been up to in New York, kind of building on all of the stuff my counterparts have said on this panel, but I think now I’d like to
hand it over to Danielle maybe and get the conversation started. – [Danielle] Thank you so much. (audience applauding) And for those who don’t
live and breathe this stuff, cafe is that corporate
average for your clients. – Okay, the efficiency
standards for car engines. – Sorry. (background noise) – Well thank you all,
those were really fantastic and very enlightening presentations. I’ll start off the Q and
A by just trying to get at a few of these transatlantic
lessons so to speak and exchanges of knowledge that we might find particularly useful comparisons between what’s happening in the two jurisdictions. And I’ll start where you began, Claudia. In talking about bikes. You admired our bike
lanes and we’ve done a lot to improve them under this administration and the past administration as well. And we’re quite grateful for that, and yet biking as a mode share here is well below what it is in Berlin and many of the other
cities that you described. I think, and Jen correct me if I’m wrong, about one percent of the population commutes via bike in New
York, is that correct? – 1.1, are the most recent numbers. (audience laughing) – 1.1. – It’s 1.1 trips, I was unsure if yours were number of trips or number
of people do you remember? – Number of people in the city, yeah. – Yeah ours is number of trips. – Number of trips, okay. So it’s probably at 18%, where there’s still probably
still quite a spread. So I’m curious if you have any insight into what has contributed
to the substantial rise, because I also noticed that it
went from about eight percent or, you know, eight or
nine percent up to 15 in a matter of 10 years. So, to what do you attribute that success? – Well, one part of the success comes from the bike lanes
which has been improved. And that’s one part of it, that you have to have safe bike lanes. And safe means really
separate from the car lane and as separate as possible of course, but still, the lane for
example costs us the fur, I mean we had a lot of space, we have a lot of streets,
it’s full of cars, and it makes it difficult, but more people would love to bike. I mean the polls show that
more people would love to bike. But the bike lanes are
not sophisticated enough, they are not safe enough. So that’s important also to work on that. And I’ve looked up the numbers, in Berlin we have
motorized private transport which is 42% still, and public transport is 43. So that’s the mode share we see in Berlin. In Berlin we have the luxury really to have a very excellent
public transportation system which has been grown over the last decades but biking is much more healthy and in the middle of the
city as you describe, in Manhattan, the people work. But here, also the pedestrian streets need to improve them as well. But I think part of the solution is really one thing is to
make bike lanes more safe. On the other hand, is to
reduce preferences for cars. To have a stronger speed
limit, less parking spaces, more costly parking spaces, and less attractive ways of
going into the city with a car. And that’s the two parts
of the story I would say. – Does anyone wanna add anything or do you wanna? – Hold up, that is super interesting, I know that we have
plans of adding a minimum of 30 miles of protected
bike lanes a year. That’s just a minimum that we’re
going to exceed beyond that and I bike most of the time I get to and from work biking, I take the tram on way longer distances if I’m going out at night, I’ll sometimes city bike
in and take the train back. I know we’re definitely a
transit city in a lot of ways. Where I’m most interested
right now in New York is a lot of our for-hire vehicle trips are two miles or less, so that for me is an
incredible opportunity to get people on bikes. That makes a lot of sense for folks who aren’t going long distances, especially in the warmer weather, if they’re able to to hop on a bike share, or a folding bike, or
their own personal bike that’s really where I see
opportunity in New York. – Yeah, that’s true. I forgot the shared bike
systems, you’re right. I mean they’re growing
and growing everywhere. We have now, the e-scooter problem. (audience laughing) We have an e-scooter problem in Berlin, I don’t know whether you have
it here, I didn’t see that. They are– – It’s on the way. – They’re everywhere
and lying on the street, lying on the pedestrian
areas, they’re everywhere. It’s like crazy and the people
are using it like crazy. I mean, there was two
people on an e-scooter without a helmet, and running through the middle of Berlin, I mean even biking is very dangerous but that’s really dangerous and so, but, they are booming of course and they are now discussing
how to control it. But the sharing system is increasing. – Well that actually
anticipates one of the questions that I was gonna ask, so New York City is going
to permit e-scooters. Not in Manhattan, as I understand, but in the outer burrows,
and so I think we’ve seen all over the U.S. similar problems. There was a great article on San Diego’s trouble with
e-scooters today in The Times. Similar problem, just
streets littered with them. And so that brings up the question of what’s the way to regulate this, right? I mean there’s something quite attractive about allowing the
private sector to come in and to compete for providing this service, and having a variety
of different providers as opposed to just sort of, you know, giving more control to
a monopoly franchise. But then it introduces this problem of having an abundance, right? And this sort of scooter
littering and what not. So I’m curious whether any of you, are there German cities
that have gotten it right or seem to get it right? How is New York thinking
about this problem? Building on the experience,
I know we’re coming a little behind some of the other cities. I welcome any thoughts. – Just for clarity on the process there, so there’s a bill that was passed by the assembly and the senate that would offer legalization state wide of throttle e-bikes and of e-scooters. There’s a leave time of,
I forget the exact date so don’t quote me on this,
it was I think 180 days for the throttle bikes, maybe 200 or so days for the scooters. That would also not allow a scooter share, so those Lime bikes, those Bird’s, scooters not bikes, pardon me, the Lime scooters and the Bird scooters would not be allowed as a
scooter share in Manhattan but a private scooter would be allowed. That bill has not yet been
signed by the governor and once that is signed, and
the bill is put into effect, then New York City would then
have to revisit a local law that bans the same scooters
and throttle e-bikes. So we have a city council movement that has to happen as well. During that 180 or so day leave time, just to offer clarity around that. – Thank you for that. – Well in Berlin they are now discussing how to solve it, I mean there’s really
obviously a big problem and they are now trying to
regulate it in a certain way. First of all, to decide whether
you need a helmet or not. Because we had heavy injuries with it, so they are going on the pedestrian area and they are going on the street, they are going on the bike lane. They are going everywhere. And they’re full, there’s really full of e-scooters everywhere. And so they are having
injuries as well with this and they want to regulate
it in a certain way. But they’re very popular so we
will see what’s going on next or what, there’s no regulation yet. – Yeah, I just wanted to add, one perspective on the e-scooter or the more frictionless mobility. And that is that I think if, anyone who’s traveled around the world or even around New York City who’s had the experience of saying wow, this is a great neighborhood,
this is a great street, I really wanna come back here. It’s because of people who are,
lots of pedestrian traffic, things to do, moving at that speed. And also, that’s the way that
people get physical activity. You know, there’s good data now to show that people taking public transit that combines active mobility, or people who get active mobility, by cycling or walking everyday, that has tremendous health benefits. So I do think, I understand
there will be situations where for time or convenience, that speeding up the last leg
of your trip will be helpful but I also think we need
to encourage a different way of thinking about mobility and accept that that friction, just like you go to the gym, you dial up the friction on the bike or the soul cycle or whatever, you’re getting exercise, so if we take all of the
friction out of the commute, we’re removing the most healthy part both for neighborhoods and for people of getting around the city. – I agree on that point, I know that during previous administration there was an active
transportation design guideline that looked at how do we get people to walk up the stairs, for example, very basic stuff that I
thought was pretty interesting. I mean on the flip side, and I mean, I don’t think that I
can speak with certainty around my opposites position on this at this stage we’re
still evolving on our end but I did read in Portland they had an e-scooter pilot program and they found that 30% of the trips that took place on these scooters would have otherwise been on a vehicle. So that for me is compelling. Like how do we get people not
to displace walking trips, like to your point exactly, we don’t want people to not walk around. But what does that look
like for that last mile for whatever reason someone’s
hopping on a scooter instead I wanna learn more about
that, it’s intriguing. – I have to just say on the point about encouraging stair walking, for a long time here
we’ve had signs that say “burn calories, not
electricity on the elevators” and I find it quite effective on the way up to get cookies here. (audience laughing) (laughter drowns out speaker) But you know, more seriously, on the subject about the imperfection of electric solutions. One of the points that I
think is really notable about the presentation you gave Tom, is the multiple ways in which cars and trucks contribute
to particulate matter. And so I was wondering
if you could provide a little bit of inside into for us as to sort of what share
of emissions from PM comes from tailpipe emissions and therefore would be
mitigated, largely, not entirely, but largely by electrification and what share is coming from
merely the act of traveling putting these heavy vehicles on the road. – Yeah, so, there isn’t a
simple answer to that question. It turns out that this is one
of these it depends answers. And it’s under active research, but the simplest answer is
it’s a substantial proportion of the particle pollution that’s produced by any motor vehicle comes
from brake and tire wear and also re-suspension of road dust. Now, electric vehicles eliminate all of the gaseous pollutants that contribute to secondary particulate in ozone so that’s good. They’re also much more energy efficient so they’re reducing
greenhouse gas emissions especially if the grid is, if they’re recharging
with a low carbon source. But what we do know is that the more stop and go traffic there is, the more brake and tire wear
particulate emissions’ll be. And exhaust emissions if it’s an internal combustion vehicle. And also, the larger the
vehicle, the heavier the vehicle, the more brake and tire emissions, so electric vehicles do tend to be heavier and nowadays we’re seeing
more and more SUV’s on the road which has
all kinds of implications for safety and for emissions, so. The short answer is I
think that we shouldn’t that just reducing the tailpipe emissions is not a good reason to switch to, to invest heavily in electric vehicles, electric cars I would say. We have to have freight delivery, we have to have public transit, in a city as big as New York. And we already have a very old school electric vehicle technology
and that’s our subway. And so, you know, that’s where I think really the emphasis needs to be on in improving the sustainability
of our transportation. – I think I’ll just add, I agree 100% and I think this really speaks to why having researchers and consultants
that are experts on this is so important for me because I take all that information in and go forward with what is the best available technology today to address climate change
and how do we move forward on to freight logistics
on electrifying buses so on and so forth. Getting people out of cars,
most definitely is priority, not only because of
climate change mitigation and air quality but congestion. I mean we had an average
of four miles per hour in midtown as the average speed last year. November, December. A lot of that had to do with
the increase of car vehicles and we are currently crafting and putting forward
policy to address that. It has to do with an increase
of private vehicle use, we know that a lot of
our registration data shows that car ownership
is going up in the city, you wanna address that through car share and other ways of getting people around. But by and large, any people
walking, biking, and transit as much as possible, that’s the way that we’re gonna get to all of our quality
emissions reduction and congestion goals of our own. – Did you wanna add something? – I would completely agree because we have to look for as less individual vehicle
emissions as possible especially in urban areas and electric cars, electric vehicles, are one part of, especially interesting for the freight transportation, e-commerce, we will talk about all this if you have to have some
kind of individual mobility undertaken then electric vehicles are much better than the combustion ones. But try to avoid as many cars,
as many trips as possible. Get people out of the cars, get them into public transportation, on the foot, on the bike,
that’s the first thing and the unavoidable traffic and individual vehicle transportation is better with electric
cars both renewable energy, and that’s one part of this solution. I would completely agree. – So you’re point about e-commerce raises another question that I had. I think there’s often a debate
in sustainability circles and I’m not sure if
there is a good answer, I hope that you know a bit
more about this than I do at the state of the science on this, but you know the environmental impact of the transition towards
an e-commerce economy there are avoided trips of course from the individual perspective, avoided trips to the store and what not, but there must be a
lot of additional trips and additional freight trips as well. And especially, the further
you get from the urban core and so I’m wondering,
if anyone on the panel has information into this share of truck travel or vehicle
travel in urban centers that is attributable to e-commerce. And if there are any steps, or
even sort of ideas of steps, that might be taken to
regulate this industry. – Because I got your question in advance. (audience laughing) I looked that up, for Germany especially, and there are recent numbers showing that 20% of CO2 emissions of cities are coming from e-commerce, and 1/3 of traffic, and between 2000 and 2017, the volumes of Pony Express and
parcel services has doubled. In Germany, so that’s basically
because of e-commerce, and that’s a number which is not, I mean, it’s challenging
let’s say it that way. Because here we have to find solutions in how to reorganize that
so one product solution as we just discussed, is electrification so
the electric vehicles is important here, but also to find ways in bringing up, having that increase in
e-commerce in the future anymore. I don’t know whether this is being done but questionable how it can solve that. In Germany it’s booming and booming, and I’m not quite sure
whether you see it the same or do you have already
slower curve reached. – I mean, we have the residents
curb view of the problem and I see it just a huge increase in the number of trucks, delivery trucks, the postal service has
really got a shot in the arm from business from Amazon. I mean I think if we
really look at it broadly, I think there are issues
related to packaging, and the embedded carbon
emissions in packaging. There’s consumption
patterns that are driven by this sort of friction with e-commerce just anecdotally talking to friends they say well I order things
and what I’ve realized is if I don’t like it, and I just complain, they don’t even want it back. Just toss it out. – [Audience] Mhmm. – So you know, I think
there’s an opportunity, I don’t know what the
levers are that the city has but potentially to require
some kind of transparency and accounting, Amazon I’m sure can quickly
comply with the data on vehicle miles, on
emissions, on carbon emissions. And the cardboard boxes that maybe have a pen in a box this big. So I think if we really look
at this comprehensively, and the other point, I don’t wanna sound too old school, even though I am old school, you know, again, like taking that friction out of the shopping experience is another way of draining
the life and vitality from urban communities, and I mean I know there are other things that we go to neighborhoods for for restaurants, and coffee, and so forth. But if everyone’s staying
home and getting UberEats or the Amazon deliveries, what does that do to our neighborhoods? So, I don’t have an
answer to that question, but I’m concerned about it. – I know that in New York City we have 160,000 trucks that
cross our boundaries every day. I can’t tell you what
share of that’s e-commerce, versus food delivery, getting
our grocery stores filled, so on and so forth, but that’s a step that we have. We do know that 45% of New Yorkers get at least one delivery a week. I know, as I’m walking
into my apartment lobby, I see the pile of boxes, I don’t know if other
folks have that experience, of seeing the boxes sometimes
they stay there for days. So I guess whatever someone ordered isn’t that important to
them in the first place. (audience laughing) We definitely see a lot of that. Walking around Manhattan too, you see the pile of boxes
also on the curb now, which is also an interesting development that we’re also tracking on our own end. And to add to what you
said about electrification, I mean it’s not only
electrifying the vehicle, but also making the vehicle smaller. We do, in New York City,
we don’t have the ability to do a low emission zone
like you do in Germany unfortunately it’s a state
and federal preemption issue. But we do have the ability to regulate the size and the weight of the vehicle, so we can say, you know, we want only a smaller
delivery vehicle in this area. We do have designated truck routes, and we do have enforcement strategies to make sure that trucks
are following them. We, in particular, can tell
when they hit our bridges. Bridge strikes are a huge
issue in New York City. We also are working right now on walkers. So let’s say that the
repeat delivery issue is something that the freight providers, the parcel delivery providers
have reached out to us on, if they come back to the same
residence over and over again not only is it a condition
issue, an emissions issue, and air quality issue, but from their end,
where their interest is, it becomes commercially problematic when they’re wasting money going to the same place again and again. So we can at least be aligned that this doesn’t make a lot
of sense on all these fronts. So how do we get people to get
their package into a locker, maybe they get a code on their smartphone, they unlock it that way as well, so that’s another strategy, and the cargo bikes,
I mean this is an area that Europe is a leader in, and we’re looking towards
a lot of our counterparts on how do we make that
last mile as compact and as sustainable as possible. That’s I think an area of renovation. – So I just wanna ask
a couple more questions before I hand it over to the audience, one concerns congestion pricing. So New York City is about
to join a handful of cities around the world in implementing
a congestion pricing scheme and I’m curious as to how the
prospect of congestion pricing is effecting the way
that the city is thinking about its transportation
strategy and its strategy of further encouraging
a mode shift off cars. And then from the German perspective, I’m curious, I’m not aware,
correct me if I’m wrong, of any German cities that have
congestion pricing do they? Why not? Has that been something
that’s been on the table, is it something you would support? And what circumstances might
it become relevant for Germany? – Before you answer, I
have a question to you. ‘Cause I just drove in with
a taxi, from the airport, and there has been on the screen, the information, now you
pay congestion price. Is that what we are talking about? Just for curiosity. How can you explain it? – That’s a really good
question, so we have several congestion pricing
mechanisms at play right now. We have what you’re speaking to, which is a New York State, were you in a yellow cab by chance? – Yeah. – Yeah, so there’s a
New York State surcharge which goes towards transit
infrastructure, so on, so forth. It’s, I believe, two point
something percent or other, I can’t remember the
exact number right now. But that is a New York State program that’s a surcharge on the yellow cabs, we also have another
congestion mitigation strategy for the app based for-hire vehicles the Uber’s and Lyfts and so forth. Which basically says
if you’re in Manhattan south of 60th street, you can’t have your vehicle
be empty without a passenger more than 31% of the time, and they spend a lot of time, I mean these companies
when they first launch basically have a lot of drivers out there flooded the market with a lot of vehicles that way if I’m on my phone, and I’m leaving somewhere late at night and I wanna hop on a train,
I wanna hop in a car, I get a car in maybe a minute, as opposed to five or 10 minutes. But for the drivers,
they’re driving around empty waiting for someone to ping them and waiting for maybe a bunch of people to leave a concert or
establishment at the same time. But they’re wandering around empty not making any money on their end. – [Audience Member] What’s the surcharge? – The surcharge is, this
is a utilization standard, yes, basically if you… – [Audience Member] For the state? New York State? – For the New York State? – [Audience Member] For the taxi’s. – For the taxi’s, they can find that out, I think it’s 2.5% but I’m not 100%. – [Charles] The surcharge
is two and a half dollars for a yellow cab in the zone, two dollars and seventy five cents for an Uber or Lyft in the zone. And that’s separate from the utilization which is beginning and has
not yet fallen in place. – Thank you Charles, appreciate that. – In the car it said 2.5
dollars, on the screen. – So would the yellow cab, yeah. – And the yellow cab, when I came in from the airport to here. – Yeah. So that’s separate from, so right now we basically are looking at
limiting the amount of time that for-hire vehicles
are empty in Manhattan. And that’s separate. – I see. – Kind of treading on here, is separate from congestion pricing which is a tolling program that will charge vehicles
entering Manhattan. – So then, how are you
thinking about the impact of congestion pricing on
your plans to mode shift. Is it impacting your plans at all? – It’s a tremendous opportunity, I mean for funding transit
and getting people out of cars that I think is where we need to be. – And from the German perspective
on congestion pricing? – There’s no congestion pricing at all so the infrastructure
payment is basically based on energy taxes and
infrastructure of pavements are not from the congestion price. We had looked at into carefully also, into a city tax which is
now discussed in Berlin. But the city tax is just a fixed price it’s not a congestion price. And so understood that you use this also as method to control congestion, which to my opinion makes very much sense. But in Germany we don’t have that. So it’s just a financial goal, if they want to have a city tax, they want to create more
income for infrastructure or the other costs they have. But to our opinion it
would make most sense to really have a distance based toll. So you can really, the polluter
pays principal is important, that you pay for the
trip you want to make, if you want to go on streets
which are highly congested you have to pay a larger amount, then just a fixed city tax
which is now under discussion. In Germany there is no, I mean, almost no discussion on
this distance based toll to control for pollution. Now, for Berlin the city tax, and because we have the other
instruments I just mentioned the speed limit, we have
the environmental zones, we have, I don’t know,
just like bike lanes and higher costs for parking, and lower costs for public transportation. All the individual measures really to get the traffic out of the city. But the next step would be also to go for this distance based tolls. But in Germany it would make
sense to have a unified system not in each city individual price and individual system. Because of data protection,
that’s a huge discussion, how you really deal with this. So we have more difficult laws than in the U.S. I understood. If you want to control
for the individual trips, it’d be difficult to get it in line with the data protection
laws we have in Germany. But to find any kind
of in between solution, would be our recommendation and include congestion as one part of it. – And Tom, as we just mentioned, a part of the goal or a
large part of the goal of the New York congestion scheme is not necessarily to
eliminate the number of cars or substantially reduce it, but to shift the demand, right? ‘Cause the price should presumably vary such that it’s lower at off peak times. So my question from an
air quality perspective, or from a health perspective, is there a substantial benefit to disbursing the same amount of pollution over a longer period of time? Are these sort of threshold pollutants from a health perspective or is more of an aggregate? – I think to the extent
there will be a benefit from that time shifting, it will be because the coincidence
of people on the street and congested traffic
will tend to be less. So if you walk around Manhattan, as it happens, our busiest
streets for pedestrians also tend to be our busiest
streets for traffic. If we could have traffic
that’s flowing better it will help some. But as I pointed out in my talk, big part of the traffic
pollution in New York City is outside of the central
business district. And it’s trucks and buses
so that will be helped to the extent that the
buses are moving better. That will help. I do think we need from like a health and an equity point of view to think about how to improve bus transit in the parts of the city that
are less bolstered by subways. Which happens to be if I’m~
home in Northern Manhattan, and going across the
Bronx from west to east. People really use the bus service and the buses are bogged down in traffic. And the congestion charge won’t help that. Potentially, even, it
could make things worse if people are doing sort of
a cruise and park and ride. Now I understand that
there’s some consideration of residential parking permits, like Mr. Comraff, you
know more about that. There’s certainly, that was a concern when congestion pricing
came up 12 years ago that there would be people parking, cruising to park outside
the congestion zone, hopping on the subway. That definitely happens
in my neighborhood now I don’t know whether it’d be
worse with congestion pricing but I would be concerned about it. And if I could just circle
back to the bike issue I do think there’s
potential for some alliances between cyclists and
car owner New Yorkers, I don’t own a car although
I have for most of my life. But I know people who
live in my neighborhood who need to have a car, and having a residential permit system which every other large
city in the Northeast has, it seems like something
New York city should have, and might be a way to free
up some of the parking that people go berserk about when you put in a bike lane or a city bike and get the car owning,
car dependent New Yorkers which is still many, in an alliance with the cyclists. That’s just my modest proposal. – Thank you for that. All right so with that I’ll
open it up to questions. Charles, as you’ve made a
certain mention several times, I’ll start with you. Charles is a noted economist
of transportation expert. – Thanks, I’m gonna pass on the residential parking but thank you. Jen my question is for you. It’s kind of a tough question. We have 28 months left with a mayor who demonstrably has little or no interest in being mayor anymore. (audience laughing) And who has never understood and internalized the livable streets idea and the idea of curbing cars. And he’s had to be hounded into any of the handful of times that he’s stood up to a community board that got in the way of a bike lane or a bus lane. He’s had to be hounded, and in fact has really done nothing, to turn around the NYPD who are so anti-pedestrian and anti-bike and that’s part of the equation. And he himself, he’s not a role model, we know all that. So what do we do in the next 28 months as concerned citizens? What can we do to advance an agenda of equitable transportation,
and curbing cars, and little discredence. – Thank you for your comment. I think that the biggest
support that we need right now is folks like the folks
in the room right now that show up at community board meetings and I come there and get
yelled at we appreciate it. For folks that actually come, who are the same folks there every time, I think that having, you know, if you’re a spreadsheet,
add me as many a time to tinker around with some of the calls see that we’re pushing for sustainability a small peon in the big machine here, trying to do my part as well. But I think that we’re
all in this together, climate change is gonna be, I think the biggest threat for all of us and I think that if everyone in this room just is out there voting, out there engaged in their communities trying to push forward
and trying to be vocal on what they wanna,
hopefully wanna see happen. I’m constrained on what I can say, but that’s where I am. (audience laughing) – Thank you. Gabrielle to start with. – [Gabrielle] Thank you for
an excellent discussion. We heard a lot about
taxes and regulations, I was wondering if we can
achieve some of the things especially towards the two extremes. In other words, the incentives running
taxes and regulations. So incentives that the
local city government can put in there for the two approaches. One for the individual to be more friction proned, if you will. In terms of walking, in terms of bikes, possibly in terms of
scooters under control. But more importantly, the other extreme which is the mass transit,
electric vehicles, and delivery trucks. And mass transit buses through
the neighborhoods have to be, years ago, I don’t know
if it’s still in effect, employers used to get credited for use of mass transit. That vehicle can be used very easily for electric mass transit. Aboveboard for buses, and
also for school buses, to be electrified which finally
is starting to get debated in Congress and the Senate. I was wondering if you could both talk from Germany’s point of view as well as New York City’s point of view. What can be done in terms of incentives for those two extremes, rather than the individual car owner. (chair squeaking) – I’m gonna come at your question a little bit indirectly. Which is to use a lesson that
I learned from colleagues who are vital strategists
working on tobacco control. And one of the things that the tobacco control community learned is that appeals to the public, we do need to change public
perception, public opinion, because political leaders
are, governor or mayor, they are by and large responding to public perception, public attitudes. So what the tobacco people learned is that these kind of
rational, data driven, you know, engineering,
health science arguments did not make a difference in
the attitudes about smoking it was gut punch emotional
intuitive appeal. And a lot of the things
that we’re talking about, I mean I, you know, read
stuff Mr. Comraff writes and the urban planners and
transportation experts. It’s really interesting
and it really appeals to a sort of system thinker. But to the average member of the public, these are very counterintuitive ideas that we can move more people
if we take away car lanes. They don’t get it, honestly. So I think we need to come up with very much more creative, emotional, communication strategies. We need to be talking up, I mean the MTA, I think is, should have a green brand. Any biker has the most important green job in New York City in my opinion. So we need to get people to think about taking public transit, walking, as doing their part,
you know, for the city and for being green. And we need to get away from something that I think is an unfortunate trend this sort of tribalism within
the sustainability community. I consider myself kind of
like a scaredy cat bike rider. If I can find a bike path, my wife Debbie and I, we sold our bikes because we couldn’t find
enough safe, comfortable, biking opportunities. I think the idea of like the war on cars, I don’t think we’re
gonna win a war on cars. I think we need to get alliances, bus riders are really an overlooked, they’re more low income, they’re older, it’s a pretty accessible system and people do get on
the bus in a wheelchair. I think buses are the fastest way to move people out of
cars in large numbers if the bus service could
really be improved. Anyway, that’s a long
winded answer for saying I think we need to work
on public perception and shaping the public
opinion about the issue which we haven’t done. – [Gabrielle] With all do respect, communication is great, but money talks. If you give a discount
to the green MTA brand, for an electric bus, it will be used. As opposed to advertising
that people may or may not pay attention to. So it’s the opposite of regulation. It’s, instead of negative
regulation, and negative taxes, why don’t you just do
positive reinforcement with a discount, to be
able to reinforce the idea. And not just for that, but also for bikes and for other things. – So a certain German company, they have a lot of funding coming in internationally for diesel to electric, records putting up a little money for our school buses and other
kinds of buses as well. – [Gabrielle] Can you
translate it to cheaper. – Yeah well, for example, what I said about Stuttgart, which is a car city, the car city. They have provided cheap
public transportation, and people use it simply because, I mean, that’s a German internal swap, looking at the money, I
mean we have a southern, the Stuttgart are very,
yeah, looking at the money. They want to (laughs) they don’t want to spend a lot so this is why they are
really changed their behavior and I think that’s one part of it, and the other one after
the diesel scandal, we had a lot of these
kinds of discussions. You just mentioned an emotionally based it’s not a war on cars, but it’s people asking themselves
do I really need that car? Do I really need that
driving that big car? Asking the neighbor why
do you drive an SUV? Why do you do that? Your diesel SUV especially, diesel, with the diesel scandal, a
lot of these debates happened. But I think it must
be, back what you said, positive public acceptance
and giving good examples. But also the economics to make it financially more attractive. – So I think we have time
for one more question and because we are a university, I just wanna ask if there’s
a student who has a question since we haven’t given
a chance to them yet. Okay, wow, there’s so many students that’s very nice to see. (audience laughing) Okay we’ll go to this side of the room. – Hi, so I wrote in on Google. I work, I’m working
this summer with Trustco and I’m a rising junior at
the University of Chicago, my question is about
like regional leadership on getting people out of cars. So I commute to Manhattan
everyday for my work. I live in New Jersey
and I think the only way we need to solve to truly
reduce the amount of cars is to like reduce, is to
also work with the regions. What’s a good way to
marshal support for programs that reduce car usage
across the greater region where concerns might be different and where opposition
may be greater as well. – I mean a few things
that come to mind are RPA I know they gave us a lot of New York City port authority as well, because they do have
that cross state mandate. When it comes to working on
the ports and airports as well. I don’t know if that
satisfies an answer for you. (laughing) Let’s start with that, I’m just
brainstorming at this point. RPA’s come to mind, I mean a regional initiative
something like that, but I would personally
listen to port authorities beyond what’s already discussed. – Well with that I think we’re at 8:00 and I know people need to get going so we will end here, but
thank you all very much. This was tremendously enlightening. (audience applauding)

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