'You’re kind of a nerd, aren't you?' Chris Wallace pokes fun at Pete Buttigieg over traffic expertise
United States Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg revealed on Friday's edition of Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace on HBO Max that he has a personal obsession with automobile traffic patterns and the effects that they have on commuters' lives.
Buttigieg, a former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is widely considered to be a rising star in the Democratic Party. He joined President Joe Biden's administration after the two battled it out for the 2020 presidential nomination.
In the HBO interview, host and CNN anchor Chris Wallace shared his gripes about roadway congestion and asked Buttigieg if he could lend some insight into how and why it happens. Wallace also asked Buttigieg what he believes can be done to ease motorists' woes.
The reason I ask this is how many times have you driven along a road and there’s suddenly a backup, and you know, you’re crawling along for 10 or 15 minutes. And then it starts to move, and then it goes faster, and there's no obvious thing. There was no accident, there was whatever. I think to myself, 'why was that backup there?' Now, I assume there's gotta be a science to traffic. Have you studied traffic?
Buttigieg enthusiastically replied:
Oh, yeah, there’s an entire science to this, and we have a lot of research partners. We have our own research institution, the Volpe Institute, which is in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and it’s really interesting. I could geek out on this for a couple of hours if we had time.
Wallace chuckled at Buttigieg's response:
Please don’t, that would be a bad traffic jam…
But a lot of it is just human nature, human psychology. The fact that if, if even one of us gets distracted, that can kind of cascade through us. The fact that we pause and look at something odd or, or an accident or something when we pass it by. The ways that we behave behind the wheel, as in general, as human beings, are not exactly orderly and predictable. And part of what we try to do is make at least traffic more orderly and predict that’s what traffic lights do. That’s what speed limits do. But one of the challenges we have right now is you have more and more people in the country, more and more people on the road. That’s how to be smarter about that. For example, it turns out that sometimes when you just, when you got a lot of traffic on a roadway, and you just add a lane or two, all you get is more traffic, because it actually makes more people want to drive on that road. And then you’re right back where you were. And so we’re trying to be smarter as a country about when do you add to the capacity do you have, that you have? Or what have you in a situation where you can’t pave your way out of the problem? And the real answer is better transit, or more alternatives, or a better design grid. These are the kinds of things that I love sinking my teeth into because we have the tools to do something about it with, and, frankly, even the existing infrastructure we have, we’re not using it as intelligently as we could be.
Wallace then made a friendly jab at Buttigieg's expertise:
You’re kind of a nerd, aren’t you?
Buttigieg admitted that he is and that he is proud of it:
I love this stuff. I am yeah. I mean, look, so many kids, I think for a reason that I can’t quite explain from early childhood, get just fascinated with anything related to transportation, right? Trucks, cars, planes, trains, boats, all of that. I mean, you know, half the kids' books we have at home are about these kinds of things. So there’s something I think very human about, about taking an interest in this. And then professionally, I’m fascinated by it also, because I see how much of a difference it makes in people’s lives – the jobs associated with construction, transportation – but also just the fact that the less time you spend worrying about transportation, the more time you get to spend on other things in your life that matter to you.
Watch below or at this link.
\u201c\u201cYou\u2019re kind of a nerd, aren\u2019t you.\u201d Pete Buttigieg explains traffic, and it actually makes sense. This man is going to be president one day.\u201d— Mike Sington (@Mike Sington) 1667140553
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