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tv   After Words  CSPAN  August 15, 2016 11:32pm-12:34am EDT

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talking about events -- rare events relatively speaking. the big picture of the long span is that an accident of that kind occurs maybe once every 30 years. usually for a totally different reason than historical reason. so that makes it very difficult to predict what is going to happen. but there are signs you can look for if for example certain type of bridge is being made longer and longer and there are efforts to also make it slender and prettier, that is a sure sign that that is something to watch. how do you watch it, you ask experts if their design is proposed how good is the design
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house a visit. but there are historical examples when that situation has arisen and when the powers that be have gotten the answer they did not like they went to another consultant who did give them the answer they were looking for in the bridge got built and collapsed. so these are again political on a certain level and people -- psychology is probably not the proper word, human nature problems. >> i'm a big fan of your work on evolution of design and i'm wondering your perspective on how infrastructure is going to start to evolve as we go without cars and transport, how to think the roads and things will change after we get these cars off the road? >> well if you could get the
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roads out from under the driver, actually do have a chapter of the and that technology is moving pretty quickly, tana ms. vehicles self vehicles. the technology is almost basically here, it becomes a public policy question at this point, local laws written such that there has to be a driver in the car. what does the driver mean, do the laws just fine driver as a human being? so they get those issues. similar to those segway issues, the little scooter that -- you still see them at malls. is going to be a question of whether there is going to be a will to have these cars, these vehicles. >> love you could work for google or somebody, but what are you going to do, as a passenger.
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>> that's true, will that is the way, that is think the future of infrastructure. i mention mention the smart bridges, they are also increasingly talk about materials like asphalt concrete, they can heal itself from cracks in really things that seem almost science-fiction like now but these will come to pass. >> is there right now any when something new is design do they ever think about upkeep? the example i have in my brain right now is the big dig in boston that built all these roads underground, was can happen in 30 years to those roads? >> well, good engineers do because they recognize that what
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they build isn't without faults and isn't without vulnerabilities, but when you're pushing for a new bridge let's say and mostly it would be the politicians and people acting like politicians, they usually want to present something that is going to be as inexpensive as possible. so they do not want to include the cost of maintenance, that is also not just a glamorous topic, it's the same problem with building the new building building a new building on the university campus round here. so the short answer is people are aware of it, and again you can get numbers all over the map but i heard maintenance cost on a bridge can be around 4% per year of 4% of the stated cost of the bridge.
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usually the cost of the bridge also does not include finance cost, finance charges, interest charges and support so these numbers can be very misleading, very unrepresentative what the real cost is. so the short answer is yes people think about it. deuce people do anything sensible about it? no. everybody who wants to give money to a university often they want to build and put their name on it they don't want to janitors closet with their name, that's what keeps the building, that's where the lightbulbs get changed, that's where it gets cleaned. >> you mention bridges, i may or may not have a comment about this but we have a very nice
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bridge out near south 20. as i understand it's a great bridge but it was a very expensive bridge i think 7,000,000 sticks in my head, i don't know that is accurate but it is hard to see where 7,000,000 dollars. >> i agree and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. i think that is a disappointing bridge to me because the lines are not graceful. the transitions i should say. the individual lines are nice but you put them all together and it just doesn't live up to what you would expect that kind of money. [inaudible] >> i guess i have not heard the rumors about that one. >> there is only one bidder.
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>> will that should be easy to verify if that is in fact true. >> thank you very much, it's been a pleasure [applause]. >> if you would like to have your book signed or greet the author he will be over here signing books. you can pay for them upstairs you have them with you -- thank you so much for coming we appreciate it. >> [applause]. >> with congress and it's a summer recess, we are bringing new book to be in prime time. coming up will look at books about infrastructure and transportation. we'll hear from harvard professor on her book, move, putting america's infrastructure back in the lee. the discussion. then discussion from the los angeles times festival of books
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on infrastructure, engineering and science. later, the duke civil engineering professor talks about the u.s. system of roads and highways his book is "throw taken". -- "the road it taken". >> on saturday beginning at 11:00 a.m. eastern book tv will be live at the mississippi book festival for the second annual literary long party at the state capital in jackson. author panels feature discussion on civil rights, education policy and mississippi state history in the 2016 presidential election. authors include john meacham who has written biographies on presidents and former senate majority leader trent locke discussing his book on political polarization. go go to for the complete we
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can schedule. >> next on afterwards, professor roosevelt cantor talks about her book move, putting america's infrastructure back in the lee. she discusses some of the successful transportation systems around the world. she was interviewed by former transportation secretary, rodney slater. >> host: professor cantor, welcome. >> guest: thank you secretary slater. >> host: i'm looking for to getting into this book and letting all of our listening audience have the appreciation i have had in just getting through some of the pages and really following the storyline, it's a wonderful story lines. what i found interesting is that you start out in the preface talking about leadership. we thinking about a book on leadership when you started? or? or how did you get to that? >> guest: leadership is a big topic and preoccupation and that
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is what i was going to do but i kept getting struck by this issue of infrastructure, literally not only the facts and figures about what was happening in america and the sad state of much of our infrastructure and the need for innovation and change, but i was also tripping on potholes like everybody is, i was stuck in traffic, i was hearing said stories of inner-city people who connected to jobs or had to take two or three buses in the subway to get to school. so that plus going abroad and riding on a train in shanghai where we went to another city. first of all subway connections to the train, the train was so fast we went to another city and 20 minutes. it otherwise would take an hour and a half by bus. so all of those things together
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made me feel like this is a really important issue. i had already been talking to you. you're such a help in this project. i'd already been talking to you about the need for new vision for america because you have been putting forth a vision just at the end of the clinton administration when you're leaving office. office. unfortunately the world changed in the 2000's. we had a lot of defense spending and other preoccupations. then the financial crisis. so we have not made the kind of investments we need to make. i thought this is so important to the future the country and part of the u.s. competitiveness project at harvard business school we really care about making sure america is strong and that also the american economy and quality of life are as excellent as they could possibly be and once again we're leaders of the world.
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so i put aside what i thought was my leadership book to write this. and then it was really interesting that i ended up concluding that it is all about leadership. there are many other details about it's all about leadership and that leadership for innovation, collaboration, big vision, is as important as the engineering. this is not a technical issue. we could do this. we have the do this. we have the technical skills in america and affected technology we lead the world, it's just that we're not always apply in our own strength. so leaders need to step up to this and i started out saying the sorry state of our infrastructure but in fact there are many reasons for hope. we see many great projects. with enough public agitation and discussion which you have also been so active and involved and
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then we could really get leaders to step up. that is what i wrote a book and so "move" not only suggest as a title not only suggest it's a book about transportation infrastructure, but it also suggests what we have to do in america which is that we have to move. we have to get moving. >> host: we do and we have to leave again. the subtitle of the book actually talks about putting america back in the leadership position when it comes to infrastructure investment. let me just say this, i want us to actually come back to this issue of leadership because you have a lot to say about that as far as going forward. let's just unpack it a bit. you do something very interesting in that you talk about transportation is more than concrete, asphalt and steel, you talk about it as a family concern, as a business concern. let's do that a little bit but let me also ask you about
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allison, natalie and jacob and how you actually dedicate the book to them and then he really tell us to think about it in some degree from their perspective, meaning infrastructure investment and its importance. >> guest: will thank you, allison, mattie, and jacob are three lovely little children and we need to think about this issue not only for business and the economy but also for the children. i have had the privilege of reading books to those children, including some of their favorites and some of my favorites which i think are really great metaphors for what we need to do. i know know we will get to the real industry policy and all of that. but i wanted wanted to also signal that this is a family-friendly issue.
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a high proportion of household budgets up to 20% of household budgets for an average family of four spent on transportation that's a big deal. but allison, natalie, and jacob and jacob like books like dr. seuss it "all the places you'll go". in the middle that book as i was reading it i was startled to see that the characters in dr. seuss -like ways and then it gets to a place in the middle called the waiting place. waiting for the trains to go, the bus to come, the planes planes to go, it was all about transportation. and so the rest of the book says you have to get out of the waiting place and that it's inspirational for kids, you can do it. well, we well, we have to do it for them now. the other one is the "the little engine that could " that is truly a metaphor for america. i cannot imagine that book
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haven't been written other places although other places have a generosity of spirit like the little engine, but the little engine was the one that stepped in to carry toys for kids when all the big engines were too busy, too important, the establishment wasn't listening. and so to me, that is a signal that we also have to count on the little engines, entrepreneurs, community people to push congress to do some of the work. so that is why started the book dedicated to them. it is their their future that we are really talking about. >> host: it's interesting that you mention the congress and the president and now we can get a little bit into the policy. i know that yesterday you are part of the kickoff of infrastructure week with the vice president and with secretary fox.
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as we get to the end of the month for congresses expanded the transportation bill, this time for the 32nd time, if they have to extend it again it will be 33 times that they have just extended it among the two or six months or whatever. and the call is that we need a long-term plan for infrastructure investment. do you think that it's important as we think about moving america back into the leadership post? spee2 we definitely need long term. ice can i say that will count on the small engines but the small engines will produce many innovations that will help, but we do need the big engines and we do need long-term funding. when funding is subject to such short-term fixes then nobody can plan. you cannot really plan to upgrade, maybe you could patch some of the potholes on roads but you cannot have projects
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that are reinvented. so so for allison, natalie, and jacob it would be for the long-term. but for all of us it is a short-term issue because of the amount of time we productive time stuck in traffic, the first responders that cannot get places quickly enough because they cannot move on the roads. the long-term funding would reduce some of the political uncertainty. that would attract more investors. that would be helpful to the public sector because if we had more private sector investors it would not all have to come out of public money. but they will not necessarily invest if they think the public side will run out immediately and there is no public will. they're looking for long-term commitments. this is both u.s. private equity which is now looking at
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infrastructure and the wealth funds from other country, infrastructure investment firms, there is money out there that would like to invest. it is not simply politics, is is the uncertainty when it is short-term fixes. it's not something we want to authorize year-by-year. feel the same way about air traffic control. aviation. when that subject the congressional budget cycles, they can also make investments long-term just even intellectual investments in new technology that is experimental because they might start something and then it is cut off. >> you know, it's interesting. you mention the issue of cost. i thought immediately about how you started off the book really where you say stuck on the way to the future. that is the the first chapter. but this first paragraph and i will not read it all but a
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couple of sentences are worth reading for sure. the average american commuter voice a total of 38 hours in hours in traffic per year. this is the average. so for some it would be even higher, this amounts to 5.5 billion hours of lost u.s. productivity annually. those are staggering figures. so you're saying that we all pay and cost when the system is not working effectively. >> we do, and that is just commuters to work. what about people who are trying to buy groceries or going to healthcare appointments were trying to get to school? school buses get stuck in traffic to. when you get to high school students there often using the public systems so this really is a huge cost of the health care cost because spending time in traffic it means cars are burning fuel unnecessarily and
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pollution from those idling cars - like there is a study in brooklyn that said 45% of all air pollution is caused by idling cars. or driving around to find parking once you are in the city. so we have adjusted to some of that although people could play. we should complain. there is a way in which the human mind will not realize that there something we can do about it and wield just kind of normalize. that's normal. the new normal, let's just build the next hour into the commute. and so leave early, come home late, don't see the family, there are so many costs and consequences so we have to stop. that's an immediate problem that also requires long-term investment because of all we did was prepare the roads or repair the train tracks which really
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needed, we still wouldn't be headed for the future because we are growing in population. we need to do something. >> host: just in that paragraph that i was reading you said that we lose about $121 billion in costs for fuel and lost time and just congestion annually. that is over 70 billing billing for people just stuck in traffic. what about the person says put in a disc and listen to a book on tape. >> guest: were very good at making sense of something and working around it. but you could listen to that book on tape in your office or at home with the kids. so we were not meant to live in our cars but even if we were
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because auto companies might like to people, the cars became. >> host: he helped to build the middle class with the automobile. >> guest: the cupholder was one of the biggest innovation. cars have become dining rooms for people. but we we do not want them to become living rooms. so it's also the fuel, the time, time, the frustration, what about bad weather. i mean there was we have had some really severe weather and there is a time i think in 2014 in atlanta where cars could not move because of ice, for 20 hours some people are stuck in their cars. that is really scary. because aside from cramped space, the heat, people could die. these these are the dire stories, the dire consequences
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and it does not have to be that way, that's the other method. you don't have to accept this and there are solutions many of them are already in place in some parts of the country. >> host: it's interesting we said we don't have to accept it, we have actually never really accepted the normal. this is a country that has always thought that tomorrow could be better than today. you mention the intercontinental rio row, you mention the interstate system. it's not like we have not dreamed it bigger produce big in the past, what you think about this moment now? it's going back to the question of leadership. what are your thoughts there? you touch on many many of these in the book. >> guest: in the history of really have to look at the transcontinental railroad.
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many people point to that as the glorious task and why couldn't it be like that today. when when i dug into the history which is fascinating it was not so glorious it because it took decades of discussion and nobody really did it until abraham lincoln forced to through. >> host: even during the time of the civil war. >> guest: isn't that amazing. there were a lot of compromises that need to be made. it did not work perfectly. the tracks started to be late from the east coast and west coast and they did not meet in the middle. so that took extra money to fix it. and there were tales of corruption, that is how jp morgan and rockefeller made their fortunes and started monopolies. but we could do it. we could envision that big budget because we are envisioning the growth of the u.s. from coast-to-coast.
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how do you use that coast-to-coast territory? you're not going to connected by stagecoach. the railroad connected it and made it possible for farmers to shift their products east to get goods, coming back weston made it possible for settlements to spring up. you not well from your time and secretary of transportation that every time you put in a transit stop you get economic growth. people build around that. so we did it them but as i was saying there are lessons for today because it was not easy and it did take a leader who managed to forge a coalition and get the political will. we had other big, interstate highways were big. like the transcontinental railroad it had a defense rationale and it was a big project. it was a 41000-mile highway with a huge price tag. it opened up all kinds of opportunities and it helped the
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american economy after the war. it helps settlements because the suburbs were already there but they could grow even more than they could get to work in cities. cities were abandoned at that time. we. we will get back to that later. but this a defense rationale that we have had for all of our big projects including sputnik, the space race. the cold war, those investments on defense grounds, some of them are a little serious because president eisenhower who wanted the interstate highway said we could move troops and we could evacuate cities. in hurricane katrina in new orleans in 2005, it was clear that you cannot evacuate cities by everybody piling in their cars and heading to the interstate. it doesn't work.
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so while those were really great, rationales at the time, i also said we are stuck in the past. we have not we have not had a big vision, or big enough vision since the 19 fifties, may be the early 1960s about the role that these projects help play in the. we had some beautiful infrastructure development or there is a gorgeous bridge in boston, signature bridge we say it is like a piece of this culture that people admire. there's other fantastic bridges. the golden gate bridge of beautiful works of art, but they are also not a vision for what we need to do to connect people and help them move across those bridges.
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so we need time for a really big, new vision that takes into account the 21st century. that is what you were trying to do in your vision 2000. >> host: yes it is. i wanted to come back to it. one thought before we leave here and i think it's very interesting that fdr during his administration thought of this national system of roads. you are right, it really took a few years of just station if you will. but then the emphasis on defense during the eisenhower years to really move it forward. i think the question may be, is there a way for maybe the issue of competitiveness and our need to be competitive globally, might that replace what has been the driver of defense and security to some degree? >> guest: i think that is certainly a rationale that resonates with the business community and with officials. locals, state, federal, et cetera. we could sell it a little bit to
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the american public, but i'm not sure that by itself it is enough to sell the public. people know that china is investing a great deal and that japan had already invested and it's part of their rebuilding after world war ii. but it is a little remote just to say that we want to be number one on rankings and indicators of it does not translate to things and improve people's lives. some i thought is that what i'm saying in this book and want to say to the people who are elected leaders, i feel many of us can be leaders whether we are holding office at the moment or not. i'm trying to be a thought leader here. what i'm trying to say to them in "move" is that we need mobility. mobility is so essential a new talk about transportation as a circulatory system, we have to be able to move goods, we have
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to be able to move ourselves so we have to get where we want to go. other countries are moving faster. we can use it metaphorically to talk about catching up for getting into the lead as we compete with other countries. but we also have to continue to be the land of opportunity. i say we have gone from the land of opportunity to the state of delays. but we have to get that back in so this is all about building the middle class, restoring the middle class, all about reducing inequality because one of the things that keeps people poor is they cannot get to jobs. we have to make things affordable for people, sensible to people. if we wrap mobility and competitiveness together then we have a shot. i think we should all be starting with conversation and figuring out a good way to talk about it. it was it was all national defense. the interstate highway when i looked at the history they were
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never from the cause the national defense highway act but everyone prefer to them that way. everyone knew sputnik was about beating russia. but the space race by itself was also inspiring to people. and again, this picture of people actually landing on the moon. >> host: its powerful. >> guest: if we don't arouse people's imagination about the future and this is such an exciting area to excite imagination. we have entrepreneurs trimming up all kinds of things that have gone wild but it is inspiring. >> host: you mentioned both china and japan. as you know china is now promoting it's one belt, one
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road initiative where they are trying to bring up to date the old silk road. it is all about trade and all about participating in the global economy. and then as you know i recently become a you know about this as well but i was recently in japan and i wrote rode the bullet train. they're celebrating their 50th anniversary of the bullet train. now they are looking at advanced technology clearly beyond that. there are some are some discussions between the u.s. and japan on this, but that is the future. we have got to be a part of it. >> guest: in that sense being competitive isn't because we necessarily want to beat them, we could learn from them. although we are not always as good at that. but i have been in japan and written those things. i landed on a flight in tokyo
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and i had a colleague who is going to escort me and i wasn't sure exactly how we're going to get there. he met me as i exited from security we walked a few steps and were on the train to osaka faster than you could get from any capital, any city in the united states to downtown. we are in the city, how far is osaka? maybe maybe a hundred miles away but we are there. and seamlessly just easily and seamlessly, it was impressive. what i found out that the bullet train has on average in the last few years deviated from schedule 32 seconds on average. try telling that to anybody who's taking amtrak in the northeast corridor. >> host: i know. and president borden of amtrak
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knows this and he is trying to get it going again and i know your good friend the former governor michael dukakis is very interested as long along with the vice president. hopefully we can get it. >> guest: we should all be interested in amtrak. another trying trying and i tell a great story in the book about amtrak getting innovative and getting the government regulators to be a little bit more flexible and noble. also raising the speed and pennsylvania on the keystone corridor. raising the speed by, a mere 20 miles per hour but it was enough to make a lot of people abandon their cars to take the train to commute instead. was just enough time saved. so we we could start by doing those things. then my people have faith again, that's what i mean about the small things, then maybe they
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will see the power big things. besides this idea, may be a connection to the northeast quarter which would take many decades but we could start. there are private companies who are investing in high-speed rail in texas, texas central between houston and dallas. in florida, all aboard america. what is exciting about that, these are private companies with division. they certainly. they certainly would benefit from some federal loans and matching funds but they are willing to invest. in miami where there is a desperate need for light rail on a expansion for there is but for more, there is no talk that is all aboard america is building a terminal on the northern side of the city, that could be a place where we could connect light rail and again, the private company would jumpstart what would then become a public investment. that is exciting and then this
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idea that we are all -- in a way. we play with the vehicles, if i think about how many wheels or how many times i've spun the wheels on the bus that go round and round, this should excite people's imagination. again people have given up and they do not think about it. again that is why i wrote a book that tells the story. what i thought was interesting is when you told me that you were going to the 50th anniversary of the bullet train and i started thinking about, that was a post world war, your authority had the trains that they introduced really high-speed real around 1980. our speed is nothing compared to theirs. it is that we do have, we could
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celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the overhead wiring. we have antiques in our system. they work really well. what happens is we all know we need to improve them but we know this from our personal lives. maintenance is in a vision. we put up maintenance. maintenance. we had a beautiful, new shiny house or apartment and i have friends who every time it needed repainting they would think about moving rather than what repainting. a little bit vested in the story of america. you you have banded it but we have parts and cities that night should be highly desirable because they're close to jobs and people could ride bikes or walk. but they have deteriorated so badly. >> host: it is interesting the way we sometimes, as you have noted turn from that which is
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not quite as spiffy as it used to be. i tell you, and you referred to some of the work we did during our time in office. a part of that was trying to introduce high-speed rail, the good thing is that we have seen a significant increase in ridership in the northeast quarter but we need to see that across the system. i remember going to new orleans and unveiling a vision for high-speed rail corridors run the country. president clinton and president vice president gore were very interested in that. one reason we are so interested in that is we look from the year 2000 until 2025 because we have been successful in passing the legislation that was before us. the recognition was that with a growing economy with the opening of our borders and interface
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with markets around the globe, with peace and prosperity to be enjoyed, we really needed to think boldly about the future. we attempted that in this work. i am excited about secretary fox and his beyond traffic report. you make some reference to the and also your book because you, this is great, you do not say the president has to be accepted, you actually start to needle and bring everyone into focus about what can be. let's talk about that. you talk you talk about the cities hollowing out, but you also have a very significant revelation in the book about cities that are prospering in the presence of transit and good infrastructure. please tell us about that. >> guest: i would love to. could i comment on -- that was a great thing and it has been very
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important to people in the northeast quarter. the problem is it is limited by aging infrastructure that a lot of the right of ways that were purchased 100 years or more ago have curves in them that mean that they cannot go up the seat. it has to slow down. their aging tracks that need to be repaired. i want the vision of the future and will get to that, but i also believe in the three rs, repair, renew, and reinvent. i love the reinvent part. we also have to understand that repair is needed even to get these benefits that we have now. this is known to people in various regions from the u.s. those divisions that you have when you're in office were really great.
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it is hard to understand how we could get so bogged down in a partisan at the national level. for example, denver, a city that in which fewer than will the statistic i have in the book is something like only 6% of commuters use anything other than a car. it is is very car centric. yet they are putting in light rail, they have refurbished union stations which also like union station and in chicago was on the way it hasn't happened yet. but but when you do that it also becomes a term for other things. he becomes a city center. the neighborhood around it is a better it's easier to get everything from taxis to her. because that her access to it, denver has done that, other cities cities have seen it and i've had plans and i think a
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consensus you can get collaborations and consensus a lot better at the regional level. people see the benefits of the project to them and it is not as though everyone is selfish and they only wants if they for their neighborhood and also they don't want it in their neighborhood if it is going to be disrupted. there is that streaking people and yet with visionary leaders and with lots of different parts of the community at the table you can get support. so people think think that sometimes it is not official it's not a business community. they don't like taxes whatever it is. in fact, fact, in houston this was really striking to me. in his stint there is a vote several decades ago in favor of a light rail system and then a second vote was taken.
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that was in general public support but then a second vote was taken about specifics and it was shot down and it was the poor communities who were against it because they had been left out of the process. they did not feel it was necessarily good for them because all of the parking places for it were in the suburban areas. so it was not part of a comprehensive vision about what to do. it took 20 years, 20 years later that houston finally got light rail. when i say it's all about leadership you could call it policy. what leaders need to do is understand how many stakeholders they must bring to the table. when they do that they will get real support. the business community would like to see public transportation to get their employees to work. they have often pushed public officials and shut chicago they
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push the former mayor daley to think about doing something with o'hare airport, new runway. so we can get that support regionally that doesn't mean that states have to pay for themselves. or cities because all of these things bands states, regions are much broader and we need national standards and national strategy which doesn't pay for it all is the accelerator, it's the rationale. i do believe that is your earlier question in long-term funding and the federal role. but we can add the regions as the dreamers and implementers. we can add the private sector as potential investors. we can add every mode of
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transportation into the plan. i know a big part of your vision was intermodal connections. we should be connecting. >> host: because most people don't care which mode it is as as they can get their. >> host: so we have those and did that regionally then there would be room. then entrepreneurs would would get excited about, as they already are but they're in here but it. so yes, there are cities doing great things in their cities that have had real problems that are trying to fix the problem and that often spans political administrations. in chicago there are three great things going on in chicago. for great things in chicago that above. one, mayor manual inherited by -- it is the untangling that this is something that everybody is watching will identify with because everybody has been stuck at a train crossing with a train
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track cross the road that you're on. it there are a lot of unnecessary deaths in america. the goal were just gave me a startling new statistic because people in cars don't believe that the gates and try to go around them thinking they can beat the trains. suicide from i don't want to talk about only depressing things, aside from suicide by train, there's also fatalities that are unnecessary. but but that's in part because the tracks cross the road because their old. in chicago, this is been a particular problem because the court of all rail tracks and it america go to chicago and it is an old system. it also dates back to the time when the u.s. did not have a system. they had a bunch of separate railroads all putting tracks wherever they wanted and
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so they are all crossing at a good and sometimes multiple in the commuter trains are using the same tracks. then they have light rail, computer, passenger, and freight. but a freight train train could tie up traffic for 20 minutes. so more dire details. >> host: so that man's this, i have to, this is what you're talking about, you have a a segment called the slowest 6 miles in america. this is in chicago, right? so go on. >> guest: it's like a freight train that could get from l.a. to chicago and 30 hours, it's approximately could take 24 hours just across a short stretch in chicago. well when there is a problem
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like there is bad weather, this was was not even recent bad weather, when there was a problem than the delay in cargo moving affected the whole country for months. >> host: that the things we don't really recognize her fully appreciate. >> guest: right now the tie up in courts in los angeles. you cannot get goods that have been ordered from other places or get our goods out. to sell to other places. so chicago. >> host: the mayor is changing at the right? spee2 he is changing it but he inherited that. in the late 90s and so chicago started create which stands for chicago rail, blah, blah, blah, blah. there so many acronyms. so finally it got some federal
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funding for the first phase, 72 different projects to build over passes, underpasses and to straighten this out. so a number of them have been completed but there are a lot left to go. i was there watching a particularly tough one maybe more, they have done a lot of innovative things. he was near a ford plant in chicago would have lost the plant and all of their jobs if they had not done that. because the cars go by rail or by truck, some of them. they are now, because of because of untangling this they used instant bridges. i know that sounds like maybe it's flimsy but it's not. it is metal and we do this in massachusetts, we had had instant bridges, 14 weekends
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over 14 weekends we have 14 different bridges were rolled into place in a weekend. i was really great. they're not not going to be hugely long bridges. i so there's going to be a part, a real green space developed in the neighborhood nearby which is entire top of it what it's going to be a more vibrant neighborhood. there are all kinds of suppliers that also have their factories there. a lot of jobs are at stake besides the for jobs. it is an impressive project. it is underway. underway. the problem on that one is taking time and it will run out of money. >> that is the big fear. >> guest: because there's a lot of projects left to go. that is one that is very promising. i believe the night that we ought to get rid of everyplace in america that train tracks
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cross streets of roads. that will take long time. >> host: it will. i know that was a big issue with the federal highway administration and with the federal railroad administration during my years at the department. >> guest: that is the kind of thing, look at instant bridges as an innovation. the second thing that if we had the will, we could make that a goal and anyway that's only one. >> host: i wanted you to go into some of the other things that mayor manual is doing, innovative financing and infrastructure fund tell us a bit more about that. >> guest: the infrastructure is on the list for enlightened mayors and governors. sometimes in their making speeches they say infrastructure and then everybody starts nodding off in the audience so they go on to something else. it's but it's really quite exciting. so so the finances a part of this because the issue
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of longer-term funds that are detached from political decisions so he created essentially an infrastructure bank for the city of chicago. there has been much talk of a national national infrastructure bank, it has not gone anywhere in congress. other countries have infrastructure banks. china has a but also other countries. i think brazil has one, in the e.u. there are funds. so it is set aside, it certainly subject to oversight but you can get professional and the commute would at the project without thinking about political stuff. you can have a longer term vision and you can do a lot of things. you can have loans as part of it. it it doesn't all have to be given the money. so he did that, states have infrastructure banks, about 36
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but they are not all using it. that was very visionary. of course who is bringing bringing a national perspective to the mayor of chicago. two other things that i really love it chicago that are happening now. one, you could call it incremental but it could make a big difference is called bus rapid transit. it is not really rapid for anybody who is listening it might take a few seconds here there but it adds up. but what it is is essentially dedicated lanes of platforms. preferably the platforms. it doesn't count as a bus rapid transit it is just a dedicated lane. what the platform does is that it means that first of all people can wait on the platform and can board at the level of the bus. there are a lot of great things that it does. it can go a go a little faster here and there, it can have
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implications across the whole line. this is not a a u.s. innovation although many cities now have it. we learn this from other cities, think the first one was in brazil. >> host: i actually visited that one and during my tenure so it has been some years ago. because the mayor who had that in place he spoke at harvard, and he made a green city well before it was fashionable. >> guest: i was an instant -- in -- so we can be visionary and do great community things with it but that is something chicago can do. because they're trying to think comprehensively they call it complete streets which is also a phrase used by other
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places. complete streets mean they're trying not only to help the buses go faster but open the street for bikes, pedestrians, have them all coexist with cars and modernize the whole things. so in digging up the downtown street to put in the platforms they are also fixing the water pipes. since chicago have some aging water pipes we have heard about some that were hollowed out tree trunks where the 100 years old. old. put in. because i know because their technology in chicago was using some of the old pipes now that are not being used, they were using them for fiberoptics. so by having a complete vision you can do everything. so one of the other cool things of course and chicago is not the first, but bike sharing, it has
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its political moments too but bike share is really being used. . .
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>> >> now we have to have the cars move over. we know how to be polite to drivers to drive for even with the road rage but we don't have a culture of bikes. so chicago had to put it in traffic lights for the bicycle would notice but the cars have to know the don't cut off the bike. it takes time to develop that culture in when they first put in the beit sharing baited not bring them back. it took a little wildfowl so i feel right now we hear on
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the cusp of change of how we think about transportation and infrastructure. >> that is the exciting part as we move to the close but i went to chapter four of the book talking about smart roads meeting this smart phones and you are all over that in your comments but you start off the chapter to save transportation bill must get smarter been smart phones, sophisticated sensors, cloud computing, a big data analytics are challenging the old business models causing industries to collide. that is you with your
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leadership been your business had so let's talk about that more and alleles are changing the way we see and do things and the way we have to live going forward. some talk about that more be. >> even before the smart phone reusing sensors and traffic management bill wasn't visible the smart phone is not that old even the i phoned was out 2007 and full disclosure read both love horizon -- horizon and that is falling dramatically but but the self or the -- the sailor:
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was referred to as the car phone. she is right in the autumn industry missed that they did not jump on that. but they did not jump on that but now they're jumping because everybody is in the transportation business we transport data more than people. and will kugel actually build a car? it doesn't make the i found it makes the software. that collides with nearly every industry and to get a collaboration. >> amazon or face but -- based book and


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