As part of Mashable’s , travel and sustainability experts , , Dr. Lucy Mahoney, and environmental activist joined a livestream on July 22 to discuss the future of travel and transportation post-pandemic.
The Social Good Series is a six-month project in which issues essential to making the world a better place are covered and discussed at Mashable. July’s theme was sustainability, and in addition to publishing a host of and stories, Mashable hosted its first-ever livestream event (which you can watch in its entirety here).
Kaufman, the associate director of the NYU Rudin Center for Transportation, kicked off the livestream by pointing out there’s been an interest in the implications of travel throughout the pandemic, particularly as people saw the climate benefits of reduced and modified travel.
That attention shouldn’t trickle off after social distancing measures are over: Pandemic or not, the climate crisis rages on. A focus on transportation, which Kaufman noted is a , will remain absolutely crucial in the climate fight.
Panelists discussed why we need to make sure transportation-related climate solutions also build a more equitable post-COVID world.
“This year, 2020, is turning out to be the year for collective action. We know that our cities need to be inclusive and resilient,” Mahoney said, adding that we need to ensure our transport systems and our streets are welcoming “for all ages, genders, ethnicities, incomes, [and] abilities.”
Chambers, the director of the mayor’s office of sustainability in New York City, spoke about how the city, despite its well-known subway system, is ultimately a — and this has disastrous health impacts for people of color and low-income individuals.
“We’re designed for cars, not for people,” Chambers said, noting that the current configuration of the city makes it so that communities of color and low-income communities are often the ones closest to roadways and thus bear the brunt of negative impacts from excessive travel.
To emerge from the pandemic more inclusive and more sustainable, Chambers says that addressing those two issues — excessive emissions from transportation and racial injustice — is the core of what New York City aims to do as it builds out more sustainable transportation options throughout the city.
“That’s the big underpinning where we recognize we have to be tackling the social infrastructure simultaneously with the transportation infrastructure,” Chambers said.