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I remember one time at a conference on air quality
in Latin America, someone asking me about how I got around.
They found out what I did.
And they said, well how do you move around?
I said well, I mostly ride my bike,
and they say, well I thought you study transport.
And I said, that's why I ride my bike.
Because I came to the conclusion, well before
I ever studied this thing that, jeez, riding a bike sure
is an easy way to get around.
I always say that, when we think about transportation,
we should be thinking about what we're ultimately getting.
Mobility is a throughput.
It's not the end goal.
I mean, if you want to think of a bad analogy,
it's we don't want money, we want what money gets us.
We don't want movement, we don't want transport,
we want what transport gets us, accessibility.
--good jobs, good schools, able to see
our friends, able to develop ourselves,
completely as people.
How do we enhance accessibility?
We have billions of people on the planet who
don't have access to daily wants and needs,
much less grand desires.
And the mobility system has to play a role in that.
And so, that's a fundamental challenge,
how do we ensure mobility systems can enable development?
But how do we do it in a way that
does not crush the carrying capacity of the planet?
Almost everywhere you see this idea
that people grab as much mobility as they can,
given their constraints.
And you see this in places as varied
as Singapore, as Beijing, as Boston, Santiago, Mexico City,
and so on.
And so, clearly they're very different places.
But in some sense, they all end up
facing some fundamental problem, which
is balancing the individual freedom
with the need for performing in the greatest public good.
That is a sign, from what were affectionately known
in Santiago, as the Micros, which were one of the-- they
were buses essentially, it was the Santiago bus system,
before it was transformed via Transantiago,
into a, in a big bang, so to speak--
into a new system, an integrated system, integrated fare system,
integrated with the metro.
Very polemic, and still ongoing, but that is the bus system
prior to Transantiago.
When I first moved to Santiago-- In 1990
in fact, that was what really started fascinate
me is, how this system that appeared so chaotic, still
functioned.
Well teaching at MIT is great, you're basically
in a room with the best and the brightest,
and so you have to be sure you can be at least two
or three steps ahead of them, and that's impossible,
because there are always going to go in a path
you didn't quite think of.
And so you have to be really, really prepared.
And so it's an ongoing challenge.
And so that means always staying at the edge of advances
in research and practice and so forth.
But it makes it a very exciting place to teach,
and of course, having such great students around,
make this-- The students are the lifeblood and the motor place.
And so it's great, it's really a privilege
to be part of such a community.