The Trafficist: An Interview With Randy Cohen



"It seemed to me that what was significantly undermining the ordinary daily happiness and health and economic life of both me and my fellow New Yorkers was the private car."    -- Randy Cohen, "The Ethicist"

Open Planning Project Executive Director Mark Gorton recently interviewed New York Times Magazine's "The Ethicist," Randy Cohen, on the ethics of urban automobility. The result has been condensed into a nine minute StreetFilm touching on a multitude of topics ranging from congestion pricing to parking policy.

Here is The Ethicist on congestion pricing:

It would be misleading to say that wise policy decisions never restrict individual freedom. They do. What civilization is is the restriction of individual freedom. We have for instance fire codes. You can't build your apartment out of kerosene-soaked cardboard because it endangers other people. We have a thousand laws that restrict what an individual can do because it is singularly destructive to the larger community.

This one [congestion pricing] is an interesting policy in that so many members of the community so overwhelmingly gain. And the unfortunate consequences are the restrictions in freedoms that are so tiny.