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The War on Cars is a podcast about car culture, mobility and the future of cities. We bring you news, commentary and stories about the worldwide battle to undo a century's worth of damage wrought by the automobile. The War on Cars is waged by three leading voices of the livable streets movement, Doug Gordon, Sarah Goodyear and Aaron Naparstek. Liberate your city. Enlist today in The War on Cars.
 
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On July 19, 2020, Amtrak restarted passenger rail service on its Vermonter line after a 16-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You wouldn’t necessarily think that this would be all that big of a deal. The Vermonter runs just one train per day in each direction between Washington, D.C., and St. Albans, a small town near the Canadian border. T…
 
Jessica Valenti, the noted feminist writer, was curious about e-bikes. So, as one does, she posted a question about them to Twitter. Thus began her path to radicalization. After buying an e-bike of her own, she quickly found how life-changing it was — a not uncommon feeling among the converted. A lifelong New Yorkers, Jessica found that riding an e…
 
This episode was originally released as a Patreon exclusive. Become a Patreon supporter of The War on Cars for bonus episodes, early releases and more. Combine a deep love of cities and urban planning with a penchant for wearing stylish suits, smooth dance moves set to Swedish rap music and a curious fascination with drainage and what do you get? M…
 
To celebrate the last days of summer, we're re-releasing our Patreon special interview with the man who introduced the world to mountain biking: Gary Fisher. Sarah talks with Gary about his sometimes psychedelic autobiography, Being Gary Fisher and the Bicycle Revolution. We also got his opinions on the failed promise of the automobile, the bike bo…
 
Tom Flood used to work in the ad industry in Toronto on campaigns for clients in the auto industry. Today he's a bit of a rebel and uses the power of social media and smart video editing to poke fun at car companies and the kind of commercials that often glorify reckless driving. If you've ever seen commercials for cars like the Dodge Carger then y…
 
We held our very first War on Cars Meetup in Brooklyn a few weekends ago. We actually started planning this event almost two years ago but, you know... a global pandemic kind of got in the way. After so many months of relative social isolation it was great to gather in person, see old friends, meet new friends, and talk with so many of our passiona…
 
It sure was a busy week for our transportation tech bro overlords. Elon Musk announced a deal to build another one of his car tunnels beneath the waterlogged streets of Fort Lauderdale, Florida while also admitting that, “haha” the self-driving cars he’s been promising for years aren’t going to happen any time soon. Malcolm Gladwell launched the ne…
 
Breaking News! Following weeks of negotiations, and as a mind-boggling heat wave settled on the Pacific Northwest, President Joe Biden and a bipartisan group of ten Senators stepped out of a closed-door meeting at the White House to announce they’d made a deal. There will be infrastructure! $579 billion worth of it, in fact. The biggest federal inv…
 
We’re vaxxed and we’re back. In this very special reunion episode, Sarah, Doug and Aaron return to the studio for the first time in fifteen months. Fifteen months! The COVID-19 pandemic has been a wild, earth-shattering, world-historic event with far-reaching implications for The War on Cars and pretty much everything else. We revisit some of our p…
 
***This is a quick preview of a bonus episode. Become a Patreon Supporter of The War on Cars for access to the complete episode and all our exclusive content. Plus, we'll send you stickers!*** Sean Kenney, one of the voices in Episode 65, “Where are the Bike Lanes in Lego City?” is an artist and self-described “professional kid” who designs and cre…
 
Why are there no bike lanes in LEGO City? That’s a question Marcel Steeman, a regional councillor in the Netherlands, asked himself one day in 2016 while assembling some LEGO sets with his kids. As a Dutchman, he thought the lack of bike lanes on LEGO’s thin plastic road plates was weird. Even weirder, The LEGO Group is based in Denmark, one of the…
 
Combine a deep love of cities and urban planning with a penchant for wearing stylish suits, smooth dance moves set to Swedish rap music and a curious fascination with drainage and what do you get? Mr. Barricade, an unlikely TikTok star. Vignesh Swaminathan, who runs his own engineering and design firm in California, has built a huge following on th…
 
From cities built for driving at the expense of walking and cycling to jobs that keep people sitting at their desks all day and neighborhoods where children aren't free to roam, it can be challenging for anyone to get the kind of activity needed to keep them healthy. In his new book, The Miracle Pill: Why a Sedentary World is Getting It All Wrong, …
 
Two years after it was first announced, a tunnel project in Las Vegas by Elon Musk’s Boring Company was finally revealed to the world. Originally conceived as a way to whisk Las Vegas Convention Center visitors from one side of the sprawling complex to the other in futuristic-looking pods, the $53-million project turned out to just be… just a bunch…
 
From “sexy bike lanes” to just what constitutes a “bicycle accident,” transportation is making headlines like never before. Aaron, Sarah and Doug are together again to consider the burning questions filling our airwaves and social media feeds right now. Will US DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg force all Americans to ride cargo bikes filled with Dr. Seu…
 
Mikael Colville-Andersen is an urban designer, TV host and writer whose name is practically synonymous with Copenhagen, bicycling and smart urban design. Doug had a chance to interview him for this special bonus episode. The full interview is available exclusively to Patreon subscribers of The War on Cars. Become a Patreon supporter for access to t…
 
New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie has been riding an electric-assist bicycle around Charlottesville, Virginia for almost a year now, and he is convinced: E-bikes are the future of transportation. Not only has the e-bike transformed his own personal mobility, it has changed the way he looks at his city and gotten him more deeply involved in loc…
 
Electric bikes shorten commutes, flatten hills and make cycling accessible to anyone who might need a boost. They’re also great tools for replacing car trips and fighting climate change. Unfortunately, they’re still a little pricey for some people. That could change thanks to a new bill in Congress: the Electric Bicycle Incentive Kickstart for the …
 
What would it be like to walk out of your home and see other people instead of cars? Can you imagine opening your door and letting your kids run around outside independently? Residents of Cully Green — a 23-home community in Portland, Oregon developed specifically to encourage a car-free or car-light way of life — don’t have to imagine it. They’re …
 
If you’ve ever spent time leafing through a car magazine or, god forbid, watching car reviews on YouTube, then you know that most of what passes for “automotive journalism” is indistinguishable from automobile marketing. That’s why it was so refreshing to read journalist Andrew Hawkins’ review of the 6,000-pound, 18-foot-long, 2021 Cadillac Escalad…
 
In a sense, cars are a bit like the internet comments section of the real world. Driving, like leaving a reply on a message board or posting something on Twitter, can be done anonymously, dividing people from their fellow human beings and even leading to aggressive behavior… if not the complete corrosion of polite society. With custom details and b…
 
The best thing you can say about 2020 is that it was the year that, well, was. In this year-end roundup, Aaron, Sarah and Doug take some listener voice memos and respond to the stories that flew across the War on Cars news desk. Is it a Good Thing or a Bad Thing that Mayor Pete Buttigieg has been named the next Transportation Secretary? What will i…
 
Under the leadership of Mayor Anne Hidalgo, the city of Paris has transformed itself, turning streets that were once clogged with cars into places for people on bikes and on foot. In response to the pandemic, the city quickly installed “coronapistes,” temporary bike lanes designed to help Parisians move around safely. (With Hidalgo’s recent re-elec…
 
On Friday, October 30th, just days before the U.S. presidential election, a Biden-Harris campaign bus on I-35 in Texas was followed and surrounded by a “Trump Train,” a caravan of SUVs and large pickups displaying “Make America Great Again” flags and other pro-Trump signs. In video posted online, one vehicle can be seen crashing into a white SUV wh…
 
Automobiles played an oversized role in the news this year, from the country’s response to the pandemic to the strange twists and turns of the presidential election. In fact, some might say 2020 was the year of the car. Beyond the growth of drive-thru COVID testing and importance of curbside voting, there was the president’s weird virus-infected li…
 
It appears that the long-awaited electric car revolution is finally upon us. Are you ready? Are you excited? Last week, General Motors officially launched the electric version of the Hummer. The Hummer, of course, is the purposely intimidating sport utility vehicle based on the U.S. military’s HumVee. Popularized during America’s turn-of-the-centur…
 
It’s often said that Americans have a “love affair” with cars and driving. Where did this oddly specific expression come from? Most people probably assume it was something that developed organically, like so many common sayings. But Peter Norton, the author of Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City, credits a little-known …
 
Reducing automobile dependence in America’s suburbs, small towns, and rural places is a daunting task. But a tiny non-profit organization in Brattleboro, Vermont is offering a glimpse of how it might be done. Launched in 2010 by bike advocacy legend and psychotherapist Dave Cohen, VBike Solutions is fomenting an electric-assist bicycle revolution i…
 
[This episode was originally released on October 31st, 2019. We're re-releasing it as an end-of-summer extra for new listeners and will be back with new episodes in September.] For a century, the automobile has been sold to Americans as the ultimate freedom machine. In her groundbreaking new book, “Policing the Open Road,” historian and legal schol…
 
“I wrote this book to make you mad.” So declares British writer and artist Woodrow Phoenix in the afterward of his new graphic novel Crash Course. Subtitled, “If You Want To Get Away With Murder, Buy a Car,” the book explores the powerful and toxic relationship between people and automobiles. With its stark and beautifully hand-drawn images of road…
 
What are streets for? Who are streets for? And what makes a street feel truly safe, welcoming and comfortable for everyone? On May 25, police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota murdered George Floyd sparking an international uprising against systemic racism and police brutality. George Floyd’s murder took place in public, on the street. The global …
 
Historian Gretchen Sorin has written a fascinating new book, “Driving While Black: African American Travel and the Road to Civil Rights,” that dives into the role the car played in the 20th-century African American experience. Sorin talked with Sarah about how in the Jim Crow era, when riding public transportation was often humiliating and downrigh…
 
The War on Cars is taking the stage for Podapalooza, a virtual podcast festival for the benefit of COVID-19 relief, on April 25th and 26th. We'll be releasing one of our favorite old episodes to introduce the podcast to new listeners and hopefully give fans a chance to catch an early one they might have missed. Purchase tickets here: plza.org. You'…
 
This episode was recorded and originally aired, November 2018. When is a car not a car? When it’s a source of solace and comfort, a curbside living room and a personal aesthetic statement. This episode is brought to you “live” from the interior of a 1987 Cadillac DeVille as we hear from Alex Brook Lynn, the producer of FAQ NYC, about why she escape…
 
From his 1989 book The End of Nature, which was the first to explain global warming to a general audience, to co-founding the climate-change activism group 350.org, there are few people with more experience in taking on powerful interests to create change than Bill McKibben. In this interview, Bill talks to Doug about divestment from fossil fuels, …
 
In this, our second episode of the COVID-19 era, we hear from listeners around the globe about how their cities look and feel. Is it safe to ride transit? How does it feel to walk through towns and cities as people protect themselves and others by wearing masks? There’s been a surge in the number of cyclists — and speeding drivers — on city streets…
 
Recording from their makeshift home studios, Sarah, Doug and Aaron check in with each other, field listener voicemails and reorient themselves to the new normal of the coronavirus crisis. Not a lot of answers in this episode, but plenty of questions: How is the social distancing going? Where would you rather be right now, the city, the suburbs or a…
 
Pat Kiernan and Jamie Stelter are the dynamic duo of local TV news. As two of the hosts of “Mornings on 1” on Spectrum NY1, Pat and Jamie do more than just wake up early to deliver the latest updates on current events or the daily commute. They experience New York City as New Yorkers do: by subway, bus, bike, taxi, and foot. Pat, who may be familia…
 
For our first live episode, The War on Cars heads to Denver, Colorado to check in on the Mile High City’s battle against automobile dominance. From the announcement that the Denver Department of Transportation and Infrastructure will install 125 miles of bike lanes by 2023 to the recent closure of B-cycle, the city’s bicycle sharing system, it’s be…
 
The Chevrolet Suburban is one of General Motors’ most enduring triumphs — the longest-running nameplate in automotive history, to use the industry jargon, and the original SUV. In production since 1935, it’s grown from an all-American family vehicle, perfect for loading up the kids and heading out into the country, into an 18-foot-long status symbo…
 
Making change happen in a big, complex, bureaucratic city is really hard. One guy who knows all about that is Shabazz Stuart, the Chief Executive Officer of Oonee, a Brooklyn-based startup company that is developing secure bike-parking kiosks at major transit hubs in and around New York City. For this episode, Shabazz joins The War on Cars crew in …
 
Is the Hyperloop for real or are easily duped elected officials the only people it will take for a ride? Do e-bikes have the power to transform the suburbs? Why should politicians and the press say “crash” instead of “accident”? What’s the best way to convince people to live a car-free life? On this year-end episode, Sarah, Doug and Aaron answer th…
 
Last March, renowned tech journalist and prognosticator Kara Swisher wrote a New York Times opinion piece with the headline, “Owning a car will soon be as quaint as owning a horse.” In it, she declared she would sell her own car and vowed she would never again own an automobile. “The concept of actually purchasing, maintaining, insuring and garagin…
 
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