September 27, 2022 (NEW YORK) — The modern American economy was built for cars. Outside of major cities, most of us depend heavily on personal vehicles to get everywhere. This comes at a high cost for our society – transportation is the #1 cause of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., it is the second highest household expense for families after housing itself, and more than 100 people are killed each day in crashes. With all of this at stake, Via, the global leader in TransitTech, in partnership with Post Script Media, launch today “ModeShift”, a six-episode podcast series that explores the forces at play in shaping our transit system.
“ModeShift” is co-hosted by Andrei Greenawalt, the Head of Global Policy at Via and former policy advisor in the Obama White House, and Tiffany Chu, Chief of Staff to Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and co-founder of transit planning platform Remix.
Throughout the series, Andrei and Tiffany will have thought-provoking conversations with luminary guests about the converging factors that are forcing us to rethink mobility and its impact on our world, including inequitable access, aging infrastructure, climate change, and rapid technology shifts. The co-hosts bring together historical examples, personal stories, and timely case studies to explore the future of transportation in the U.S.
In the first episode of ModeShift – “Transit on the Brink” (available today on Apple, Spotify, Amazon or wherever you get your podcasts) – our co-hosts ask: “How did we get to a point where our transit system is under so much pressure – at a time when investment is needed most?” Experts Peter Norton, associate professor of history at the University of Virginia, transit expert Jerome Horne, and Beth Osborne, director of Transportation for America help to explore the history of transit’s decline, the economic and environmental impact of car dependency, and the possible ways to redesign the system.
New episodes will be released every week for six weeks and highlight perspectives from thought-leaders and experts:
Episode 2: “The ‘political entrepreneurs’ reshaping transit” — The hosts and renowned guests explore the role the government plays in the quality of our transit systems — both some of the structures and dynamics that make change hard — and why the opportunity to improve mobility for Americans is greater today than it ever has been.
- Michelle Wu - The first elected woman, person of color, and Asian American to serve as Mayor of Boston
- Jake Auchincloss - Massachusetts Congressman
- Yonah Freemark- Research Director at the Urban Institute’s Land Use Lab
- Beth Osborne - Director of Transportation for America
Episode 3: “The rural transit divide” — How technology-enabled transportation can unlock access to jobs, healthcare, and opportunity in rural communities have been left behind.
- Scott Matheson- Mayor of Valdosta, Georgia
- Scott Bogren - Executive Director at Community Transportation for America
- Caroline Rodriguez– Executive director of High Valley Transit
Episode 4: “A paradigm shift in tech adoption” — The team unpacks how pioneering transit technology is actively reshaping the way transit agencies plan and adapt, and what it means for future riders.
- Angela Wynes, transit manager for High Point, North Carolina
- Shyam Kannan, Mid-Atlantic transit lead at HDR
- Gabe Klein, partner at Cityfi and newly appointed lead of the Biden Administration Joint Office of Energy and Transportation
- Aaron Bielenberg, partner at McKinsey & Company
Episode 5: “Redefining equity in transit” — Every design decision brings unintended consequences, especially when it comes to public transit. What is it like to ride a transit system that is designed for everyone’s needs?
- Charles Brown, founder and CEO of Equitable Cities
- Shyam Kannan, Mid-Atlantic transit lead at HDR
- Chad Ballentine, VP of demand response and innovative mobility at Capital Metro
Episode 6: “Could we build 'car-free’ communities? — Cities and neighborhoods around the world are exploring ‘car-free’ approaches to urban planning that prioritize people over automobiles. This episode will look at what it means to be car-free, and how that could shift the balance in favor of new transit options.
- Ellen Dunham-Jones, director of the urban design program at Georgia Tech
- Cornelia Dinca, founder of Sustainable Amsterdam
- David Belliard, deputy mayor of Paris
“Our transportation system faces many challenges, but new federal investments coupled with forward thinking leaders across the nation provide an enormous opportunity to increase economic mobility, reduce emissions, and advance equity,” said co-host Andrei Greenawalt. “We are fortunate to be joined on this podcast by an incredible lineup of experts who help us make sense of how we got here and the path ahead – from the halls of Congress to big and small-city mayors, from academics, advocates, and think tank experts to those at the front lines of running transit systems in our communities.”
“After spending time first in the private and now public sector, I have seen the positive impact that good transportation can have on individuals and communities - and am intimately familiar with the challenges of driving change,” said co-host Tiffany Chu. “This podcast is a much needed and well-balanced look into the factors surrounding transportation in America, and beyond.”
ModeShift was created by Via in order to help bring awareness to the opportunity - and challenges - that technology-enabled transportation holds for communities around the world. Transit connects conversations around accessibility, climate, equity, and the future of cities, and this podcast is well timed to educate a range of stakeholders and interested parties on the important issues.
“This is a unique series in the transportation world. Transit sits at the center of so many core issues: economic mobility, equity, tech innovation, and climate. ModeShift walks listeners through all of those themes — using narratives to clearly lay out the need for overhauling our transit system. We were thrilled to work on the series,” says Stephen Lacey, co-founder and executive editor of Post Script Media.
Founded in 2012, Via pioneered the TransitTech category by using new technologies to develop public mobility systems — optimizing networks of buses, shuttles, wheelchair accessible vehicles, school buses, autonomous vehicles, and electric vehicles around the globe. Building the world’s most efficient, equitable, and sustainable transportation network for all riders — including those with limited mobility, those without smartphones, and unbanked populations — Via works with its partners to lower the costs of public transit while providing transportation options that rival the convenience of a personal car while reducing the environmental impact. At the intersection of transportation and technology, Via is a visionary market leader that combines software innovation with sophisticated service design and operational expertise to fundamentally improve the way the world moves, providing technology in 600 communities and more than 35 countries and counting.
About Post Script Media:
Post Script Media is the leading production company focused on podcasts at the intersection of climate with culture, tech, and business. Post Script has produced some of the most important podcasts in the energy and climate space, including The Carbon Copy, Catalyst With Shayle Kann, Climavores, Hot Buttons, The Big Switch, Columbia Energy Exchange, and Watt it Takes.
The company also works with companies and organizations to develop narrative podcasts about world-changing topics. Its production of Where the Internet Lives for Google won two Webby Awards in 2022, including Best Technology Podcast and People’s Voice Winner, Technology Podcast. Its production of A Matter of Degrees was a bronze winner in the inaugural Anthem Awards in 2022. Post Script Media is based in Boston, MA, with a team of audio professionals located throughout the US.