The Next Mile


Episode 6 - From AVs to Zombies

Season 1, Ep. 6

Cars have come a long way since they were first conceived.

By introducing these kinds of horseless carriages, no longer would people have to hassle and care for the animals that came along with travel.

As the idea of driving became more likable to the public and cars became more advanced, their role in society grew. But as cars gained the spotlight, other community infrastructure began to lackluster.

On today’s episode, I am talking about the impact of the AVs on our society, with my guest, Samuel Schwartz.

Samuel Schwartz has been in the transportation industry since the late 1960s. He started as a cabbie in New York and rose to the ranks of traffic commissioner and the DOT's Chief Engineer for the Big Apple. He popularized the term "gridlock" while pushing New Yorkers to think differently about traffic. At one point, he even toyed with the idea of banning cars altogether in certain red zones. To say the least, he knows a thing or two about traffic and transportation systems as a whole. The years have only honed his focus on how to solve the Rubik's cube of Transportation.

So don’t miss out, Episode 6 of The Next Mile, where we have an interesting conversation about the evolution of cars, and how they will impact our future.

Questions I ask:

  • How do we make sure that car companies don't steer us in the same decisions that really only help them, but rather use the car for what it should do, which is connect us in a more meaningful way? (06:22)
  • Right now a lot of cars that are coming out on the roadways, newer cars from many companies that we all know, have some level of partial automation. How are those technical elements going to help us? (08:56)
  • Why do you think that citizens should take a more active role and a more serious role in talking about transportation? (11:26)
  • At this point in your career, with a global consultancy, do you feel like countries that are just now starting to put in that infrastructure, are they ahead of the curve or behind the curve of the United States in building for what this new future will look like? (14:00)
  • In "No One at the Wheel” you outline that the car of tomorrow may look very different and it may help a family live a more normal life, where not everyone has to build their day around the availability of a vehicle. Can you talk through some of those scenarios? (27:12)
  • Do you see the average American giving up their personal vehicle? (33:05)

In this episode, you will learn:

  • The mistakes we’ve made in the past 100 years, with regards to vehicles. (01:24)
  • How shifting city focus to cars created inequality between public transit and those who could afford car ownership. (04:13)
  • The benefits of AVs. (05:06)
  • The types of pedestrian injuries that we see in this age, and why they have worsened. (10:36)
  •  How the population is affected by poor infrastructure maintenance. (12:41)
  • A child’s opinion on Autonomous Vehicles. (16:40)
  • Why AVs are compared to zombies. (31:03)

Connect with Sam:

Books mentioned:

More Episodes


Episode 4 - Blasts from the Past

Season 1, Ep. 4
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Season 1, Ep. 3
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