Remaking California's Transportation System for People and Their Environment (Audio)

It's all here, in audio format - a brief but compelling bit of context on how the nation's most populous state is attempting to change what it and every other state has been doing for over half a century -- building transportation systems for cars instead of people.

NRDC Urban Solutions put the piece together with the help of Jeff Wood of the Overhead Wire, whose narration you hear. It';s designed so that the public can understand how transportation in California is evolving, and how other cities and regions might be able to implement what we all agree is needed change as the failure of car culture becomes obvious in the 21st century.

To get an image in your mind, think of it this way: If California were a sea-faring vessel, it would be something akin to a supertanker, which takes about a mile to turn at sea. Right now, California is about a quarter-mile in and you can feel things beginning to change.

In this audio series you'll hear how California laws have been laser focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, especially for transportation. We find out how the State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) was formed through consolidation and redistribution of departments and we discuss the future of funding opportunities, explaining cap and trade policies.

Most regions, especially California with its record number of cars, have long had this central organizing principle in regard to transportation - figure out how to build more roads and widen existing ones. But California is becoming a pioneer for change because it is leaning toward another metric - measuring the effect of its actions on greenhouse gas emissions.

Change is hard.

Even if it makes a lot of sense.

Want to find out more about California's struggles - and its victories as well? Even if you're not a Californian, the state's approach -- and the much-watched outcome -- could have an effect in your area of the country down the road, so to speak.

Will the state truly make positive change or will the supertanker get stuck on a sandbar of resistance and bureaucracy? Tell us your prediction after taking a listen.

About the Authors

Amanda Eaken

Director, Transportation & Climate

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