Keynote Fireside Chat Mini-Series: Along for the Ride

Oct 20, 2022

Andy Keeton

VP Global Strategy

Between the Lines and The 82 Alliance presents: Keynote Fireside Chat Mini-Series: Along for the Ride

with Sarah Barnes


Along for the Ride

Welcome to the third episode of our Keynote Fireside Chat mini-series, presented by The 82 Alliance.

In this 8-episode series, we will talk with the industry's leading experts and innovators to dive more deeply into the challenges we face and the many ways TDM and mobility can help. We're joined by co-host Rob Henry, the President of The 82 Alliance. He is a Transportation Demand Management Certified Professional (TDM-CP) with over 20 years of experience in transportation.

In this episode, we are talking to Sarah Barnes. Sarah is a Proposal Manager, Transit and Micro mobility Partnerships at Lyft, a Board Member of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, and the creator of the Along for the Ride weekly newsletter.  

Tune in for a deep dive into Sarah Barnes' newsletter and discussions around solutions for a more commute-friendly planet.  

And join Sarah's Along for the Ride newsletter to stay up to date on transportation and technology news:


Episode Transcript

Commutifi presents Between the Lines with Andy Keeton. Each week, we explore the challenging issues Transportation Demand Management professionals face on their journey to transition commuters from driving alone to more sustainable, shared and active commuting habits. Be sure to subscribe to hear next week's episode and check out our exclusive commuter playlist on Spotify. This is Between the Lines with Andy Keeton.

[Andy Keeton] Everyone, and welcome aboard to this week's episode of Between the Lines. Another edition of our mini series, our keynote fireside chat mini series presented by the 82 Alliance. If you're new to this series, this is an eight episode series where we're talking to some of the industry's leaders and innovators and just generally interesting people to dove deeply into the challenges we face in TDM and in mobility. So we've got Rob Henry on today as part of this series. He's going to be helping me co-host this this episode like we've done with our other two episodes so far in this series. Rob is the president of the 82 Alliance. He's a transportation demand management certified professional and an award winning mobility expert with over 20 years of experience in transportation. As always, really excited to have you on today. Rob, thanks for being here to help out.

[Rob Henry] Sure. Thanks. Glad to be here again, Andy.

[Andy Keeton] And we're going to start off today with a little discussion about a particular tweet that you found the other day, Rob, from Daniel Moser, who's a senior transport specialist at the World Bank. It's referencing a pretty interesting 2021 chart from where ranks urban transport modes by average carbon emissions per passenger over a kilometer, which is important and takes into account both things like manufacturing and disposal, roadway maintenance and actual direct and indirect emissions of operations. For our listeners, if you want to take a look at this chart, you can find that in our email that we sent out to our newsletter subscribers or on our website, which you can get to between the lines. But I'd love to throw this question at you first, Rob. When looking at this chart, it breaks down a lot of different modes, you know, some pretty obscure or some very common. What are your thoughts when you first look at this?

[Rob Henry] I think it just continues to highlight the challenge of, you know, SOV. So we talk about such a big movement towards electrification and it's going to help. But if we don't have people walking, riding their bike, taking public transit, that's we're only going to see so much change. It also gets to, I think, the hopefully maybe reemergence of the main street where we have less of delivery vehicles traveling around and maybe we can center them around an a main street, U.S.A. and small stores, which saw a kind of minor renaissance during the pandemic. So hopefully you see that growth. But it's that those communities that will replan for their future and have more walkability, look at what Paris has done, what London has done. Some places in the U.S. are focusing on it as well. And can I walk? Can I ride my bike and get to everything I need to go to, whether it's in that 15 minute type city, whether that's, you know, a five minute, ten minute radius. And that's I think what we're really seeing is that climate is coming so fast and impacting us so fast that if we don't take kind of dramatic and sometimes old school approaches, we're not going to see any real change.

[Andy Keeton] I think I have this vision of an ideal future where we sort of flip the traditional design principles and we put, you know, vehicles underground and we put people and, you know, sort of mass transit above ground. So it's visible. And when I think about that, I look at this this chart and I see, you know, the top five things are walking Beijing light rail E-bike E-Scooters E-Buses light rail again, busses, busses train like it goes, all of these public transit. If we throw that above the ground in life, have this city, like you're saying, where really that's all those are all things that contribute to a livable city. It also can help us, you know, hopefully I won't say solved but help us solve the climate change issue compared to those at the bottom of the chart, you know, car gasoline cars, diesel cars, hybrid even hybrid cars and plug in hybrid cars are pretty low down on that list. I make sense. It's, you know, per passenger, kilometer per passenger mile. So.

[Rob Henry] Yeah, I think one of my my favorite images is where people go on vacation and they go to, you know, old streets in Europe, in old, walkable towns and walkable cities. And then you take the picture of the highway with the little house maybe looking sad underneath that massive overpass. And nobody goes to visit that. And where do we go? We go to places that are more attractive and walkable. So we know just we have to, you know, with a plan and make elected officials understand that that that's good planning and will help alleviate this issue.

[Andy Keeton] Maybe that's the way to do is take a tourism approach to it. You want to bring more people and you know, build a train. So let's bring in our guests here today. This episode, we're talking with Sarah Barnes. Sarah is a proposal manager for Transit and Micro-Mobility partnerships at Lyft. She's a board member of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. And maybe most interestingly, I don't know, she's the creator of the Along for the Ride weekly newsletter, which Rob and I have been fans of. There's a lot of these ideas out there. This one is one of the few that's actually worth reading. Start to finish every week. I am sort of fangirling here. I love to have. I'm really excited that Sarah on. So Sarah, thanks for being on. First of all, it's a pleasure to have you.

[Sarah Barnes] Thank you for having me. That was quite the intro, given my ego and ice brushing for this morning.

[Andy Keeton] So it's never a bad thing. So I apologize to you, Sarah. Looking at this chart, I think during the conversation Rob and I were having. What are your thoughts when you see this? Is there anything interesting that sticks out to you? Particularly, I'm thinking about the work you've done across different transport modes and in different places, and really thinking about the future of transportation and the decarbonization of it.

[Sarah Barnes] Yeah. So I think one of the first things that really stuck out to me about this chart is a the ranking is very interesting, but also how they've split it up into where the emissions actually come from, from like the manufacturer and disposal of a device to the roadway infrastructure needed the maintenance of that infrastructure operation, both direct and indirect and it's super interesting to me to look at bikes. So much of it is on the manufacturing side and there's a little sliver for roadway and things like that. But you know, the operation cost is essentially nothing. Whereas when you go further down the list, you get to a car that has a very high percentage of manufacturing emissions, high percentage of roadway emissions that are needed, maintenance operation, both direct and indirect. And it's the accumulation, I think, of each of those aspects that really make the motor vehicle kind of the the loser on this chart right. And you look at busses and e-bikes and light rail and all of these things that actually require minimal like development emissions, but over the course of their lifetime provide such immense carbon savings that it's also, you know. Yes, there's like the amount of carbon that gets produced over the useful life of each of these devices. But it's just like it's so fascinating to see it conveyed in this way and to see that actually the operations emissions here are essentially not like once you build that device and they include a disposable disposable here, too. Once it reaches the end of its life, you know, the actual operation of it produces next to no carbon emissions. So that is, I think, one of the things that we really need to amplify because that's optimism. Like we have solutions today that are like very capable of delivering the carbon savings that we need and they exist and we don't actually have to that anything that we just actually have to have the political willpower to implement them and to get through that short manufacturing design phase to enable it to live. It's like 20, 30 year life as light rail trade, doing it thing, creating minimal if any emissions and that's beautiful. That is so exciting. And I think sometimes we forget that we already have so many solutions. So looking at this chart, it's like, No, no, we know exactly what to do. We know exactly where the savings live. It's just having having the willpower to get to them.

[Rob Henry] So you've been thinking about that. You've traveled all over you. You're passionate about mobility. Where did that come from? Where's your passion derived from?

[Sarah Barnes] I think as an adult now, I can reflect back a little bit upon a life and growing up, my family and I moved around a lot. So we lived in Brussels, we lived in Houston, Vancouver, and it wasn't probably until I got to university and started taking geography courses and some thought, I want to be an architect. So I ended up in a lot of kind of architecture adjacent courses around urban design and city planning, things like that. And I was like, Oh, this really lands like this super land for me because I'm like the kid who is living, you know, I lived in Canada for part of my life growing up and I used to walk to school in -20 degree Celsius weather, freezing weather, but we lived in a really walkable community. And so I could walk to the grocery store, walk to school. My parents would be like, Out you go. And I would power walk my way to school. And when we lived in Houston, which is arguably a far more temperate climate, that in theory would allow me to walk more. I was in a car everywhere because of the design of the city, and that completely changes an individual's daily behavior, what they access every day, and how much time transportation occupies within a person's every day. And so I think once I started to get into transportation, I could really see how my personal habits and behaviors changed in a sustainable or less sustainable way, depending on where I lived and how urban form actually can dictate and hold a lot of power over behaviors that I think people don't necessarily always recognize as choices and the role that city planning can play in enabling people to have more choice in their daily commutes.

[Andy Keeton] I, I had a similar sort of experience as well. Growing up, though, I grew up in one place and it was a classic suburban American, suburban, you know, town, I guess. And I lived like, I want to say, three quarters of a mile from my high school and I drove every day. And part of that was, yeah, you had to cross a busy street and it wasn't very fun to walk and it was Colorado. So I made an excuse that it was cold sometimes though. Now I know I can't make that anymore. And the most of it was the culture as well. You know, everyone drove and it was that's what you do. And then, you know, since then I've moved around a bit. Now I'm in Montreal, I live in it's a very walkable city. I love walking. I don't even own a car anymore. I'm like, Wow, I've seen the light. I need to get everyone to do this. But yeah, it comes back to that infrastructure piece. You can't just not own a car. And maybe 95% of North America. So I think that's really interesting. And I want to I want to hit on some some more of that, you know, global experience that you've had. Is there any particular thing that you've learned from different places you've been? Are there any best practices you've seen in a particular country or a particular part of the U.S. as you've traveled around, whether for work or personally that you wish, you know, I wish everyone adopted this practice.

[Sarah Barnes] I mean, it's hard not to think of Paris right now because of all the work that they've done over the last two years and through the pandemic. And I think that to me is for anyone who's maybe listening and not familiar with what Paris has done, it really capitalized upon the idea of the 15 minute city and are building infrastructure to enable, you know, no matter where you live in the city, you have essentially access to all of your daily amenities within a 15 minute walk. And then they extrapolate that what that looks as a 50 minute bike ride and 50 minute transit ride. And so they want for a person to be able to access school, grocery work and other major components of their life within that 15 minutes to enable healthier, more sustainable commitments. But they are essentially just like rapidly doing it, not through, you know, super heavy, intense infrastructure, but also through like just political will. Like what's most exciting about Paris is seeing the politicians and people who don't necessarily come from a transportation background care so deeply about this that they're completely revolutionizing transportation in the city in under two years in a way that I think other cities could not fathom doing, because instead of saying, we're going to pilot one bike lane or going to do it here, and then we're going to have two years of studies, and then we're going to decide if we can do another bike lane, really doing it in a network approach and thinking about the entire city and not one particular area. So I think that's super interesting. And Calgary in Canada, which is super car dominated, built out a couple of years ago, an entire downtown protected bike lane network and that increased cycling. I don't have the numbers off the top of my head, but it increased cycling substantially and everyone was like, What do you mean? In the oil and gas capital of Canada, people are biking more like that's insane. But actually having the willpower to build that project out and they essentially did the network as a pilot, they said, we can pilot one bike lane, but that's not going to do anything and you're going to see any results. If you let a pilot for two years, the network across downtown, not necessarily the whole city, but in an area that has the density and the jobs and residential density to really support this, we think you're going to see change and it happened. And then the council members actually voted pretty much all in favor of bike lanes, which is something that I imagine any person who's lived in Calgary for more than two months would scratch your head up. You're like, What now? Like, that's not really a city that we're cycling is a considered and norm mode of transportation.

[Rob Henry]
So if people were reading your newsletter, they'd know a lot of these things already. But just to plug it is a great is as you mentioned earlier and I'm glad that you're fangirling in thank you for a long for along for the ride newsletter and I think I came across it maybe on Twitter someone posted about it and shared it and then I got into it and subscribe and then and I were talking about it's great and I and I read a lot of mobility articles, but do you have different ones? Just different types of different articles that I see that I don't see in other places, which is really great and all different topics. And so I love process. I love kind of the big picture thinking further ahead that strategic planning and just would love to know, you know, why did you start something like this and kind of how do you pick in your process when you go to pick the articles, how do you select those and go about that?

[Sarah Barnes] Yeah. So the newsletter is four and a half years old now, which makes me feel old in a funny way. I feel like when parents talk about how old their children, like I said, but, but so. But I started it. I was finishing up a series of research that I did for Siemens in the U.K. and most of that was about EVs, electric vehicles and AVs, autonomous vehicles. And the research that I did there was called Cities in the Driving Seat, and it was about cities being empowered to lead urban agendas as it related to electric vehicles and autonomous vehicles and not have private companies and automobile OEMs steamroll the urban development and policymaking around autonomous vehicles. Because we've seen what happened in the past and it's essentially gotten us where we are today, which is plenty for transportation problems and the climate crisis, really. And so I had been doing that research, I was wrapping it up and was starting to go and work on bike share. I was living in London at the time and I had a plethora of contacts who were either policymakers who I had spoken to about autonomous vehicles who essentially were like, We do not know what these companies are trying to do. They come to us with their marketing spend. They come to us with these grand vision that this is going to eliminate road collisions. It's going to allow for people with disabilities to have more mobility than they've ever had before in their life. It's going to solve. You could throw out a transportation problem. They were like assault, greenlit, solved. Don't worry about it. You no longer don't bother building an infrastructure like we're going to solve it with a better car. And then I had a ton of people on the industry side who were saying all of these things to policymakers as well as to me. And I would sit there, Well, have you ever considered changing the radius of the street curb? It's like a revolutionary idea. And, you know, tons of people who had were working in transportation spaces but had no background in transportation planning and had none of that information. I think that they needed to really develop a sound and comprehensive and holistic approach to mobility. So I started the newsletter essentially on the premise of wanting to help demystify what the private industry was doing with autonomous vehicles and electric vehicles so that policymakers had a clear take on what was happening, as well as where the money was moving. Because I think sometimes a company can approach you and it sounds like, Hi, I'm so-and-so from AEI, but what they actually mean is, hi, I'm so-and-so from Ford. And like, here's where we you know, some of these companies are branded in a very strategic way. And following the money really matters because sadly, money still is a substantial form of political power. So trying to demystify what are the companies doing, who is actually in charge, who's actually paying for these projects, and what do we think their actual end goal here is? And at the end of the day, like people are always trying to make money, I think it's very sweet that they think that they can revolutionize transportation. But if they're not thinking about it and holistically, they're probably low key bamboo bamboozling us in the search for profit. And then on the industry side, I think every single person here needs a weekly reminder about what transportation infrastructure is actually getting to the deliverables that you say you're after. Because as the chart that we started with shows, we have so many solutions already. We're just not implementing them. And if you can change a car, you maybe change the transportation experience for like one or two people, a person and a car and a person outside of a car that potentially could be hit. But if you change a street, you change you improve the safety, you improve the sustainability for absolutely every single person that interacts with that street forevermore. Right. Like in perpetuity. In perpetuity for decades. Words are hard. But, you know, that I think is the thing that was the guiding light for me was I wanted policymakers to have a clear take on what was happening, and I wanted people in the industry to become enlightened to what is common knowledge for transportation planners and people who work on the policy side.

[Andy Keeton] Yeah, I think I think achieves that. So again, good job.

[Sarah Barnes] Thank you.

[Andy Keeton] It does seem to achieve it. I do. I do like to get my quote unquote news from your newsletter. So I guess the first part of newsletter is marking news and it's a letter. So you're sticking to it. Jody, favorite stories that you've shared or that you've been a part of through the newsletter or any, you know, people you've worked with through the newsletter that we're just like, Hey, this is really great. We're going back through the archives. Check this one out.

[Sarah Barnes] Mm. I think some of my favorite memories are all associated with people reaching out and just wanting to get a cup of coffee. Like, if I'm traveling and I'll tell subscribers, like, Hey, I'm going to be a New Yorker, hey, I'm going to be in Vancouver or London or Paris or whatever it is, and somebody responds and wants to have coffee with me or like, Oh wow, this is exciting. And getting to hear about why people do the work that they do and why they're engaging with this to me is also really important. I think sometimes we disassociate from the work. We disassociate the work from our personal endeavors and maybe what feels a little bit more vocational. And I think the newsletter for me has also become a platform where I talk a lot about transportation, but I also talk a lot about myself in some funny kind of ways. Like I try and make it very personal. I don't want it to feel like anybody else is writing this newsletter. I want it to feel like the people who are reading it know me and that we could go and get coffee and we could become friends and that has come to fruition and I'm really grateful for that, that perspective.

[Andy Keeton] Yeah, so if, if you're reading your newsletter and, and Sarah says, I'm going to be in your town, that actually means reach out. It's not like you should reach out, but don't actually do that actually is an invitation. Yes, I love it.

[Rob Henry] Yeah. It reminds me you mentioned kind of thinking of others and meeting with others to get their perspective. And one of my favorite Walt Disney kind of quotes slash thought process is Walking in the Park and always being that guest's perspective and mobility. I think a lot of times we lose track of sometimes the users and thinking about what their experiences. And and I think one thing that's come through in reading a newsletter is that you seem to enjoy celebrating, elevating the Bipoc and the LGBT community. And you know, why do you think it's important to have those diverse voices when discussing mobility and to highlight those stories in your in your newsletter?

[Sarah Barnes] I think to put it really frankly, I think it's the only way you can build a successful transportation network if you don't include diverse perspectives. Your system is not going to work for a significant portion, if not majority of people. We look to a lot of cities to better understand how they developed the networks that they have today. And so much of that development is actually grounded in the commute pattern of what is essentially like the 1950s nuclear family, where you had a man who got into a car who commuted to work and came home and our bus lines are bike lanes and all of even the alternative transportation networks are really designed around that commute. And if you look at what it's like to get to a grocery store or to get to, you know, something that was maybe seen more as like a woman's job, there's just not there does not tend to be the same infrastructure. I think London is a really good, bad example of this, where if you look at the protected cycle superhighways that they have in London, they're essentially designed to get people to the City of London, which is the financial district, which is a predominantly male centered workspace. And then they have quiet way throughout neighborhoods that are not protected. There's tons of interaction with cars and and other road users, and they essentially just have paint on the ground being like, Oh, we're quite wary. Nobody go too fast. And it's sort of this space where actually a lot of women and children use when they're using active transportation. And in the weirdest way, London has ended up with this like gender binary bike lane network where the super speedy cyclists have protected infrastructure and women and children do not. And because that's not the commute they're going on in that traditional family setting, obviously there is like when you start to bring in the diverse perspectives, you understand that like all people, all trips need this type of infrastructure regardless of if they look or fit into a nuclear family 1950s model. And I also think that a lot of the time that we look to bipoc people, to people with disabilities, to people who are queer, we kind of want them to talk about that in relation to their transportation habits and talk about like the challenges that exist there. We don't oftentimes actually make space for, you know, so there's a black expert who specializes in decarbonizing decarbonization, but every time they get invited on the panel, they're invited to talk about equity in transportation. And it actually diminishes our knowledge base as a whole society. If we limit and reduce people to that singular conversation around equity and we force the communities who are not perpetuating that to be the ones talking about it forever, more like they it just puts people in this completely circular conversation. What we need is to actually empower white people and allies to actually start taking that torch and demanding change and having conversations where they need to be had based off of the plethora of resources that the bipoc queer and people with disability community have already created around what is needed. Right? So I think it's really part and I think the only way you get to a functioning transportation system, one that is sustainable, one that is centered around justice, one that allows for people to get to where they need to get to safely. Have people who have diverse commuting styles as well as diverse backgrounds actually participate in the planning process.

[Andy Keeton] Yeah, I think that is well said. I, I really enjoy reading some of the, you know, just like really insightful pieces that come from people that are not elevated in the traditional, you know, sphere that I find my news and my information. And like you said, just hearing them as experts, hearing everyone as their own expert like you don't if I'm talking to, you know, a black person or a woman, I don't need to hear, you know, I already know from, like you said, all the resources that are out there, the problems that are faced. And it is nice sometimes to get that perspective again and be reminded as a straight white male who doesn't face any, you know, real issues in the world. But I love to just hear people talking about what they know. And I thought that was a really insightful, important point to make.

[Sarah Barnes] I'd also maybe to add on to it a little bit as well as I think sometimes as a society we become lazy. Like there are so many nonwhite, queer and non able bodied people who work in transportation, but we just do not bother to scratch the surface level lower to find them and bring their voice up to a platform. And so I think for me it's a lesson in trying not to be lazy with my newsletter and saying, Hey, once a month I'm going to have somebody who comes on to the newsletter and shares perspectives. It's not my and is grounded in their own experiences because also you don't have to have done anything related to transportation to understand how our transportation systems work. You just have to leave your home or not be able to leave your home because it's mobility. System does not work for you, right? We all have our own embodied understanding of the transportation system and reminding people that they have embodied knowledge I think is really important as well.

[Rob Henry] And that's great.

[Andy Keeton] So switching gears a little bit to literal gears here. Did you love biking? I think that's fair to say. I like putting words in people's mouths, but that seems pretty, pretty clear cut. So that's confirmed. I want to dove into a little bit like your thoughts on the new sort of forms of biking that are coming or that have already come and are sort of taking this industry by storm, e-bikes, bike share, electric scooters, the other sort of micromobility. That's not just the human powered bicycle that's existed for hundreds of years, which is great on itself. How do you see these new forms of micromobility play a role in our, you know, transportation ecosystem, particularly in that active commuting or active, you know, transportation segment of it?

[Sarah Barnes] I mean, I'm really encouraged by it. My own personal relationship with Bike Share, I work in bike share now, but the reason I do is because I was hit by a car my second time cycling in London and I was so afraid to get back on a bike. And I spent about nine months walking everywhere and I slowly dipped my toe back into cycling, which is something I had done for years and years prior through bike share and then eventually went to go and work in it. And so for me, like bike sharing e-bikes are these low barrier entry points into what can become more long term habits. Like it's for lack of a better word, the gateway drug as, you know, sustainable generation. And the nice thing about e-bikes and e-scooters is that when people start using them, they're reminded that it's actually fun. Like I think the people in the biking community have gotten a bit of a bad reputation for being angry all the time. Like there's you can almost visualize like a mob of angry cyclists who are like when you want more bike lanes and stop being the energy. But actually I'm like, I just want more people to be able to experience how fun this is. Like cycling has been proven to be more sustainable, but for me, I'm like, it's the fastest mode of transportation for me to get anywhere in San Francisco. It's also one of the healthiest and is exceptionally great for people's mental health because it gives them you know, the endorphins are great. It's proven through multiple research studies that cycling has like psychologic wellbeing benefits to it. And so for me, I'm like, this is really exciting because e-bikes and e-scooters are a cool and be fun, which is, you know, really what people are always looking to have more out in their life and it's just getting people over that initial hurdle of, Oh God, it's not a car, oh god, I'm unfamiliar with this. Or I don't know how to bike in a city because the cars are scary, right? Like there's a saying with skiers that skiing isn't dangerous. You just have to watch out for the other skiers, right? Like if everything that goes around you, that's actually more intimidating than the riding the bike itself. And that's where infrastructure also kind of like e-bikes, great e-scooters, great e-bikes and e-scooters with protected bike lanes, phenomenal Revolutionary will completely change your transportation habits. So we need to make sure that those two things happen in unison with infrastructure and that we're I was talking to somebody yesterday. I'll make this point very quick, but she was saying how, you know, cars are. Obviously, when we see advertisements for that, it's a total lifestyle. Advertisement. It is like, here is how sexy your life is going to be in a car. There will be no traffic. You will get everywhere on time. You will become Matthew McConaughey in a Subaru. Right. Like that is the energy that gets put out into the world. And I'm like, we need that for e-bikes because right now the way we advertise cycling to people is like, Do you want to be sweaty and get fit? And everyone's like, No, no, not really. I, I don't necessarily want that. And we're now getting to a point where it's like e-bikes are getting advertised as like this cool, hip, fun thing. And I think we just need to lean into that more and more to help it feel more like that aspirational lifestyle that people are attracted to.

[Andy Keeton]
I'll throw something over to you really quick, Rob, but I want to say this because you hit on something. I've been thinking to myself if the entire mobility community could come together, buy an ad spot for the Super Bowl, and let's take one of the traditional car commercials where they're driving and there's no one around. And it's great and then flip it on its head and say, you know, they're like, I think there was a car commercial where they're just, like throwing out words like freedom, you know, flexibility whatever. And it's just like if you put that on the backdrop of just like traffic and you're being angry and road rage, and then you just like have the protected by hardcore lanes or whatever we want to have as the ideal future. I think it's, it's, it's there, there's, there's money to be made there. So if you're looking to figure out how to do advertising on this, that's the way to go.

[Sarah Barnes] Almost visualize to like one car, like getting like poof from the traffic and the person getting put on a bike in the bike lane. And then you seeing the reduction in traffic in real time because I think that's the other thing is are like the bikers are creating traffic, you know, like actually that biker is just one less car in front of you right now, right?

[Andy Keeton] Oh, yeah. Yeah. Just like they're pooping off the road, like foo foo, foo, foo foo. And then all of a sudden, like, the lions are just moving freely. Everyone's biking, the world goes from black and white. So like colorful, and you're like, this is the future, but it's now anyway. Sorry, that was fun. Rob, you say it's.

[Rob Henry] Okay. What kind of on that a similar vein. And so one thing I think people are curious about and trying to figure out so had an explosion of bike lanes which protected bike lanes to an extent in the U.S. but you know, we're getting all this growth, which is wonderful. At the same time, all there's all these states passing legislation for autonomous delivery robots. And one of my concerns is that it's just going to overwhelm the projected bike lanes and the cyclists and e-scooters are going to get the boot because these autonomous delivery services are going to potentially take it over. Looking at, as, you know, cart way they can use in some legislation actually allowing them to go up to 25 miles per hour in those lane. So.

[Sarah Barnes] Yeah.

[Rob Henry] You know, what are you seeing? What are you hearing? Anything in kind of what you've seen in your newsletter? People talking about that? How do we make sure that, you know, we're doing all these great things for biking in the U.S. and it's been a kind of a revolution. The pandemic has even further accelerated that. How do we keep that going so that there isn't a cool commercial at the Super Bowl about autonomous delivery robots like our is going all over and I was like, this is great.

[Rob Henry] I love it. You know? And we lose at the end of it.

[Sarah Barnes] Yeah, I think it's really hard. The hardest part, the hardest thing that I think infrastructure has to go up against is just the fact that it's not sexy. And sadly, for whatever reason, like a little delivery robot that goes up to your knees and can like goes with you, your on demand salad or whatever it is. It's seen as like this cool gadget. And everyone's like, are the future. They clearly have not seen Wall-E. I see this and I'm like, This is the plot of Wall-E. Begin. In case anyone was wondering. And you know, I think some recommendations include like I also who I sit on the board of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, which we noted earlier, and that's the largest cycling advocacy and advocacy group in North America, with over 10,000 members. And that group shows up at City Hall every day and says, Not in my bike lane, I want more bike lanes, and I do not want that in my bike lane. And so I think for me, now is also the time for as individuals, if you care about this, like go find the organizers in your city because they exist and support the work that they're doing. Because the larger that movement grows, the more momentum that we have, the more power that we can take in this process. Because right now those companies are coming with oodles and oodles of VC funding, saying, Wouldn't you prefer our little dinky EV delivery vehicle that is no larger than like three feet by three feet to a minivan coming through your neighborhood and dropping it off like that is exponentially more emissions like. Yeah, that's true. But also I kind of prefer a person on an e-bike delivering my dinner tonight or whatever it is. And I think we just need to be able to have this abuse, hear that counterpoint and to hear that, you know, this might be marginally better than a minivan, but we also have other solutions that exist that are exponentially better than the minivan and the little delivery bot as well. And if you build the infrastructure on that, you not only benefit, you know, a person on a bike delivering dinner, but you also are helping people who are commuting. Like no matter your journey, it gets better when that infrastructure is there, including if you're a driver. Right. All the research also shows when you build protected infrastructure, it makes it safer to drive. We have an epidemic of people dying on our roads right. Many of them drivers. And I'm like, I'm actually out here trying to make everybody safer. I don't care what your mode of transportation is, I would like for you to be able to get where you're going in one piece, regardless of the mode of transportation. And we have the knowledge on how to do that. And we just need to actually get the political will, which is harder than it sounds.

[Andy Keeton] But okay. So we could go on forever. Very. As I've now you've been paying attention to the clock, even though that's my one job as a host. I want to ask you one final question and then all these other ideas that we would have wanted to discuss. They are in your newsletter every week. So I know I'll know where you.

[Sarah Barnes] Know where to find me.

[Andy KeetonExactly. And everyone else does as well. But one final question. I think this is interesting because clearly, Rob and I go to you for inspiration every week. Who do you guys who is there anyone that you like to follow or any places you know, sources that you like to go to for information and mobility or else where.

[Sarah Barnes] This one is? Really, I am like, there's an abundance of inspiration that exists for me, so it's really hard to pull specifically what inspiration is. But, you know, I think there's a few things. I think traveling and as Rob mentioned earlier, when people go and they travel and then they see that entire different systems are possible, I think that is super inspiring. And I think one of the things that we really struggle with is this mentality of like that could only work in Amsterdam or that could only work in Prague. You know, it's a metal like we also tend to forget we prioritize Europe, despite the fact that much of South America has also had very dense, very community focused planning and city design as well as transport like Mexico City, I think has some of the best public transportation in in the world. And like no one is hooting and hollering about it. So I will hoot and holler about it here for a second. But travel, travel is, I think, a privilege, but also be a huge source of inspiration for me personally. And then I see the other two things that inspire me. One is the next generation of like the youth who care about this. They are so active and so vocal and unrelenting in the transportation systems that they want to see. And I find that immensely inspiring and wanting to like try and hold on to some of their momentum and energy to accelerate my work. And then on the opposite end of that kind of my mom, who is like sort of in this position where she'll be like, she'll be traveling, she's going to go, we're going to go try a bike today. We're going to try cycling like ten years ago. That would have never happened. And on an individual by individual basis, I think most people I know who bike have a story of somebody that they have converted into some cycling, whether it's an everyday cyclist or, you know, will do it on bike share when they travel in a different city. But it's encouraging to see just like the the snowball effect and the way in which more and more people are slowly getting brought into and enlightened about what's possible of transportation. So that's very inspiring to me like that.

[Andy Keeton] That's I also have seen I think the younger generation is really interesting. Everyone is way more vocal about this than I remember when I was young. I didn't care about it at all. Maybe that's just because I didn't care about it. So I didn't like live in that space. But I think it's just generally people are more vocal about a lot of things now, but that's one of them. Sarah, thanks for being on. This has been amazing. I love this conversation. I'm excited for your next newsletter that comes out this Friday.

[Sarah Barnes] Yeah.

[Andy KeetonCool. Well, this this episode of a recording two and a half weeks before we're getting it published, but it'll probably also come out this Friday for whenever you're listening to it, because it comes out every Friday. Sarah, thanks again for being on. And to all of our listeners, thanks for listening to the end. Again, if you haven't yet, make sure you subscribe to our newsletter.You can find that EP between the lines that I know or give us a like a follow rating wherever you listen to podcasts or watch our podcast on Spotify or YouTube. I sometimes it's fun to just, you know, see the person talking. I like listening to people, but I also like seeing my small. That's it for me. Rob, thanks for being here.Sarah, Thanks for being here. It was great.

[Thank you.

[Rob Henry] Yeah, thank you. Keep it up Sarah.

[Andy KeetonWe'll see everyone again on our next episode. And Sarah will see you in our inbox on Friday.

[Sarah Barnes] Woohoo

Thanks for joining us on this week's episode of Between the Lines with Andy Keaton. Be sure to subscribe. To hear next week's episode and check out our exclusive commuter playlist on Spotify.

Better commuting starts here.

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