Jonas Eliasson, Director of the Centre for Transport Studies at Sweden’s Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), takes a stab at one of the largest problems in big cities: traffic congestion. In this TEDx, Eliasson discusses techniques that urban planners and policy makers can use to help mediate the problems caused by rush hour commutes by car. Contrary to most other suggestions we see, Eliasson’s solution does not involve any plans to widen sidewalks, encourage public transportation and create bike lanes; rather, this suggestion is more policy oriented.
The video above, produced by ITDP Mexico is a surprisingly fun look at the dire traffic situation in Mexico City. With the help of two Barbie Ken dolls (who else?), the video describes two types of drivers: the Everyday Driver, who drives everywhere no matter what, and the Shadow Driver, who drives only when it’s most convenient.
The situation facing Mexico City isn’t too far off from that facing American Suburbia (as our infographic “Burbs Going Bust” and our two-part “Saving Suburbia” series recently highlited). The ‘burbs, designed to convenience the Everyday Driver, have essentially turned Shadow Drivers into Everydays. Hence why passenger cars account for up to 50% of greenhouse gas emissions in some car-intensive communities in the U.S.
It gets you thinking… if we could design Suburbia for the Shadow Drivers (or the “Disencarchised” Driver, who can’t afford a car at all) and make driving less convenient for the Everydays, then maybe we could convert the Shadow drivers (to the “light”side) and increase the demand for walkable streets and denser communities.