(Unedited) Podcast Transcript 342: Man’s Best Friend on Transit
This week we’re joined by Dr. Jennifer Kent, Senior Research Fellow in Urbanism at the Sydney School of Architecture. Jennifer talks with us about why we travel, the impact of dogs on our travel behavior, and the idea of “messy trips”.
For a full unedited transcript, click below the fold. For audio of all the episodes, check out the Streetsblog podcast page.
Jeff Wood (1m 22s):
Well, Jennifer Kent, welcome to the Talking Headways podcast.
Dr. Jennifer Kent (1m 24s):
Jeff Wood (1m 26s):
Well, you’re currently, As we like to say in the future, what time is it Australia right now?
Dr. Jennifer Kent (1m 31s):
It’s 10 o’clock in the morning. Friday morning.
Jeff Wood (1m 33s):
Oh no, it’s not too bad, but it’s your Friday. You must be really excited about the,
Dr. Jennifer Kent (1m 37s):
Yeah. Although we’re currently locked down here in Sydney. So our weekend is looking remarkably boring.
Jeff Wood (1m 45s):
Well, I guess it’s still a weekend though. I mean, when we were in quarantine, I was still looking forward to a lockdown weekends too. So maybe get away from my computer and things like that. Watch a few good TV shows. Well, thanks for coming on and thanks for reaching out on such an important topic, which we’ll discuss and a bit, but before we get started with that, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Dr. Jennifer Kent (2m 6s):
Yeah, sure. Thank you for having me. Thank you for my eager interest in, in my research. So my name is Dr. Jennifer Kent. I’m a Senior Research Fellow in Urbanism of planning at the university of Sydney. I’ve been at the university of Sydney since 2015 after I did my PhD, which was all focusing on the links between transport health and urban planning, trying to, I guess, extensively unpick, the links between private car use and health in particular.
Jeff Wood (2m 38s):
And what got you interested in cities and urbanism? Was it from something that happened when you were a little kid or was it something that you learned when you were in school or how did you come about the subject?
Dr. Jennifer Kent (2m 47s):
Good question. So I started out with my tertiary studies doing environmental science, and pretty soon realized that I was missing people. So I started to look more the environmental management side of things and human geography, but at the same time, I was actually a professional cyclist. So I was racing bikes all over a Europe and in the us. And just through that experience, I suppose, once you experienced things from a bike in such a really embodied kind of a way you start to get more of an appreciation for Rhodes and the structure and that kind of thing, and noticed the nuance of a difference that is across cities around the world.
Dr. Jennifer Kent (3m 34s):
But you also get to notice that the nuance of a difference in the communities that are hosting your racing and the community’s that you rice weight and so forth. So when I decided to retire from cycling, I started to look towards every planning as a proficient.
Jeff Wood (3m 50s):
That’s awesome. I mean, I, I ran cross country and track in high school and college and a tiny bit professionally afterwards, a tiny bit, but one of the things that I found was that that really spurred my interest in cities as well. I mean, I knew all of Austin, which is where I went to school within a 10 mile radius of downtown because of all of my running. I knew every street and I knew every block and I knew all these places and it kind of fits that idea of the, of the bike and the pedestrian experience. If you experience it more like as the cyclist, as you were a professional, no less, it gets a little bit different. I think in people’s minds than if you just kind of saw out the window of a car or you’re speeding past life comes at you a little slower. I feel like,
Dr. Jennifer Kent (4m 28s):
Yeah, absolutely, no, you get that real immersion that comes with, you know, the smells and the sounds and the tiny intricacies of details of the sites that you see as well. I remember having, you know, a really good knowledge of the cracks in the roadway that I would cycle on and that kind of thing. And somehow that connects really well with being able to have an appreciation for that urban form, the way that that can really impact people’s lives.
Jeff Wood (4m 58s):
Now you’re a retired, do you still watch cycling on television on the tour is happening right now, obviously. And are you still into that big time?
Dr. Jennifer Kent (5m 4s):
No, not so much of my husband is he, he still raises bike’s and it’s on here. It like 12, 13 in the morning. So occasionally I catching watching it and then I wake up in the morning and say, oh, what happened to the tour? And we’re both so amazed that mark Cavendish is, you know, winning a couple of stages. It’s amazing. Anyway.
Jeff Wood (5m 26s):
Yeah, no, that’s, that’s good. That’s good. Well, so you’ll focus a lot on how families travel in your research, but how did you initially come to that topic specifically?
Dr. Jennifer Kent (5m 35s):
No, I’m really interested in, I guess, exploring the concept of derived demand for travel, but in a really deep and sort of sociological way. So we all know that transport is a metaphor, right? And I’m not the first person to have said that even from the etymology of the wood transport and metaphor mean the thing to carry across. So when we’re traveling somewhere, we’re not traveling somewhere where practicing the thing that we’re trying to obtain by doing that travel. So I always use the example of traveling to a children’s birthday party in Sydney, and we have this huge problem with weekend traffic at the moment.
Dr. Jennifer Kent (6m 18s):
And a lot of that is to do with the transport of families, the transport practices of families. And I say to transport researchers, when a daddy’s driving his daughter across town to go to a child’s birthday party, he’s not driving his daughter, he’s being a good parent. He’s socializing his daughter. He’s getting ideas with her next birthday party, his meeting with all the parents he’s networking. These are all of the things that he’s accomplishing through that trip. It’s got nothing to do with the, for him, with the drive itself. So I’m super interested in all of those tiny details of what actually motivates our transport trips and conceptualizing the demand for transport as a demand for those things rather than demand for transport in itself.
Dr. Jennifer Kent (7m 8s):
So that kind of brought me to travel with families because travel with families is a highly emotive process for a lot of people, all sorts of journeys associated with care seem to be. And in that context, we are very readily start to make decisions that are perhaps less in the interest of sustainability or if the wider community, or even a VAR and personal health. And we prioritize the need to perform you. No familial duties perform the Judy of care. And so that sort of changes, I suppose, the way that we make travel decisions. So that’s what we do to families.
Jeff Wood (7m 47s):
That’s so interesting. You know, we are going to talk about travel and dogs in a second, but part of the response to an earlier piece that you wrote, the responses were a very emotional people’s you no objections or pros for having pets on transport, but I feel like, you know, you talk about that emotional connection too. And I feel like there’s also a very emotional connection when you try to talk to people about how their travel effects may be a greater society and they get emotional about that to, and you mentioned that briefly and even said the word a motive, I’m wondering how those things are connected, the, the emotions of it all versus maybe that just kind of disconnected need to you. No, sir. Yeah.
Dr. Jennifer Kent (8m 25s):
Well, I mean, in transport research, there is a sort of this big body of research that looks at psychosocial motivators for travel. So it looks at things like the way that are traveling is wrapped up in a row identity and the way that our travel is wrapped up in our pursuit of a social norm and that kind of thing. I think my point is that it’s not are travel that is wrapped up in identity, that the things that we are trying to accomplish through travel, that he’s wrapped up, you know, our, obviously there’s certain segments. And I think cycling is quite an obvious one where people do identify quite strongly as being a cyclist.
Dr. Jennifer Kent (9m 5s):
And in some sections of society, there’s still people who will identify very strongly with being a car driver or a truck driver or a driver have a certain type of car. The generally in Australia, perhaps a little bit less than the U S so I’m not quite sure U S is so polarized in so many ways. Generalizations generally in Australia, we didn’t find people a wrapped up in the identity of they cost so much anymore. You know, I think that we’re sort of surpass that as the generations of gone through, but we are definitely still attached to a certain type of person and making a certain type of lifestyle work that may be car depend.
Dr. Jennifer Kent (9m 47s):
And so it’s, I guess, just another leap from what are the traditional transport research has looked at in terms of emotions and psychosocial connections between transport and the way we travel.
Jeff Wood (10m 1s):
That’s so interesting. I feel like sometimes here in the U S at least I think, you know, there is a conflation between that need to travel and how you travel and the connection to the open road or automobiles generally is pretty strong. I mean, even I’ve growing up in Houston on the outskirts of Houston, I had access to a car when I was 16. And that’s how I got around. Even though there were a good bike trails and stuff where I was biking was still something that we could do when you’re a younger. And even when you’re older in the neighborhood that I was in, but everywhere else, if you wanted to get outside of that neighborhood, you had to use the car. So I think that connection is there a mint, your ultimate freedom, even though maybe it shouldn’t have,
Dr. Jennifer Kent (10m 37s):
Yeah. I mean the freedom and autonomy, I think the privacy is also an important thing for people in terms of the sort of a psycho social or emotional things that they experienced with the car. Some of my original work, we looked at those sort of concept in the conceptualization of the ontological security, which are sort of the way that we see ourselves in the world. And I was able to demonstrate through interviews with people that these, the three concepts have privacy, autonomy and flexibility. We’re just so integral to peoples way of operating in the world to their ways of working the ways of carrying the WAIS of socializing.
Dr. Jennifer Kent (11m 21s):
And self-care all of those things. And in the city that they were living in, which is Sidney, a hugely car dependent city, the only way that they could obtain those things was through private car use. So I just think in transport, we gloss over and sort of underestimate the depth of those connections and how deeply rooted they are in our sense of being not necessarily because we’re all car addicts or, or nerds or of cars or anything like that. It’s because we love the lifestyle that we have are the lifestyle that we have works for us. And to make that work, we need the car.
Jeff Wood (12m 3s):
Do you think that’s driving some of the discussion throughout the pandemic of this kind of a move towards telecommuting or a work from home as well? I mean, if some of the, the items that you mentioned as being connected to that, the independence of it all, do you think that’s connected to? It’s not just obviously a transport thing, but it feels like maybe it’s a work thing, or maybe it’s just, like you said, general life, the lifestyle, I guess of it all.
Dr. Jennifer Kent (12m 24s):
Yeah. Perhaps I haven’t really thought about it in the context of the pandemic, but when you think about it, I mean that the ability to work from home, what we want is the choice. We don’t, we, we, we don’t necessarily want to work from home. We want to be able to run the ship, you know, and say, where are we going to be? And when we’re gonna be there, and then it’s the same with everything. We want to be able to choose. Whether we’re going to buy our groceries online this week, we’ll go to the supermarket a few times. We want to be able to choose which school we send our child to. We want to be able to choose which Jim, we go to that openness of, of choice. And decision-making is seen by a lot of people as the drawing part of living in a city. That’s what you have access to all those opportunities.
Dr. Jennifer Kent (13m 7s):
And so when we think about transport is just a derived demand and try to design these 20 minute neighborhoods where we provide everybody with access to a supermarket access to a school access to a medical care. We totally just disregard the fact that people don’t want to go to that particular supermarket all the time. They want to choose which supermarket they go too. And if that supermarket happens to be 40 minutes across town, they’re going to go there if they’ve got the time to do it right. So that access to a choice, I think the ability to choose is it’s something we also are underestimate.
Jeff Wood (13m 44s):
Yeah. We had Alex Hoffman on recently from a CLL passed and he talked about that to a certain extent, the data is showing you that even in a 30 minute neighborhood or a 20 minute neighborhood, or whichever time limit, we want to give up the neighborhoods. These days, there might be an ethnic component, right. And you might not want to go to that whole foods, or there might be a, a, an equity component. You might not go to that restaurant because it’s expensive. Even if you do have access to it, you’re not going to go there. You’re going to go to the place where you feel comfortable or where you want to visit. And so that’s an interesting connection to all the time. Yeah.
Dr. Jennifer Kent (14m 15s):
And I mean, that is like the way that kind of detail is what gets me up in the morning and keeps me awake at night as a transport research. Or is it just thinking, gosh, like, you know, you look at the daughter and you look at that trip chaining behavior that you’re seeing in that dog. And when you think of what on earth was going on for that woman, anything, it could be a total of a Sikh or wishing it like the dog out to the event, or her husband wanted something from a hardware shop that wasn’t available in the hardware shop that she normally goes to you. No, that’s such a gender stereotype to make, but you know what?
Dr. Jennifer Kent (14m 56s):
I made it a siren trading. Yeah.
Jeff Wood (14m 58s):
All those things. I love the data and looking through it and finding the details that are, seem off from what your norms are. That’s really, really great. Okay. Let’s talk about dogs and transit. I’m super excited about this. So as you probably know, from our Monday show, you know, you have a segment called puppy’s and butterflies, which is the last, the last part of our show. So obviously I’m a fan of dogs, but in Sydney, they’re not allowed on public transport. Why, why is that’s
Dr. Jennifer Kent (15m 21s):
A great question? Well, I mean, there’s lots of theories about it from a practical perspective. They’re not allowed just because there’s a regulation that states the dogs are prohibited from using a train service and dogs can use the buses at the discretion of the bus driver, but they need to be in a carrier which has sensibly acts as a private mission because a bus driver can easily refuse. And B if you’ve got a dog that’s too big to carry you, you’re in real trouble. So from a practical perspective, that’s why dogs are allowed to ride out a public transport system. Why that regulation is in place from the perspective of the operator.
Dr. Jennifer Kent (16m 5s):
They raise a lot of barriers around cleanliness and the additional load on the system. It’s a fairly historical things. The dog’s have never been a lot on public transport in the Sydney, from that we can tell. So it’s a fairly engrained and entrenched prohibition, but our senses from a research that the real reason dogs are prohibited is because our system is very much focused around what we call clean predictable trips. So the system in Sydney is very much around the journey to work and getting people in and out of the CBD it’s currently experiencing pre COVID times.
Dr. Jennifer Kent (16m 48s):
And then during the different waves that we’ve had in between those waves, massive overcrowding. So there’s a huge demand for the use of public transport and not enough services to accommodate it. So what we’ve got is a system that is both not suited to the messiness of everyday life and a system that is at the brink and not able to accommodate any additional sort of tripped glowed. And I think its both those things that making that prohibitionist and are hard to challenge. Where
Jeff Wood (17m 18s):
Did you get the idea for a clean trip? I mean, I think that’s really interesting kind of phrasing as opposed to like messy trips, which are human trips, things that people do to maybe go to the store or take their kids to preschool or whatever it might be. I mean, we always think about with a messy vitality. I mean Robert Venturi and Jane Jacobs, it’s a very famously talked about the messiness of cities, but I’m interested in that term of the terminology of, of a clean trip.
Dr. Jennifer Kent (17m 44s):
Yeah. I, I mean, I suppose Jason’s inspired the first use of it, but it was also inspired just by this research that we started to really look at what our transport system in CB was all about and realize that it’s not about accommodating the complexity of modern life. It’s about accommodating things that are really predictable. And I say clean because when I use the term, I think about people traveling to and from work, we are in, you know, the traditional business suit or something and not having any kind of a mess about them, any kind of peripheral things like extra bags or children or dogs or anything else that is going to encumber that you no direct trip to and from the CBD in the suburbs.
Dr. Jennifer Kent (18m 37s):
And then of course the first time I used it, people just laughed because they thought about dogs and mess the smell of the sort of made me think, oh gosh, maybe I can’t use that, but it’s stuck from the,
Jeff Wood (18m 51s):
I think it works. But you set out to do this research and found that toggle owners make 2.4 million dog related trips in a week in Sydney specifically, where did you come up with that number? And what does that tell you about trips that are being made for pets in cars?
Dr. Jennifer Kent (19m 5s):
Yeah, the number is actually 2.4 million trips in cost. So there’s a whole heap of the trips that are going on, not in cars with dog. And we got that number from originally. I started to do this research because I’m a qualitative researcher by trade and I really wanted to shop and my quantitative analysis skills and to do that, I needed a data set to work on and I found out pretty quickly that to get data from people, you ask them about their dogs because people always want to talk about the dogs. Interestingly, no I’m doing research on parents’. No parents want to talk to me at all dog and is just a they’ll talk to me until the cows come home.
Dr. Jennifer Kent (19m 48s):
Really. That’s surprising. Actually I’m surprised when I first started to collect the data, I just used a scatter gun approach and we went through Facebook group’s and put notices up on dog parks and lift postcards events and all sorts of other things in pretty quickly. I got a really good response, right? Well not response rate because it’s not a representative sample, but I’ve got a good response. And I ended up with having the trip data from 1,200 dog owners. And I asked them about all the different types of trips that they do with their dogs. So I gave them a series of examples, like trips to dog parks, trips to dog training tricks to go and visit family and friends trips, to walk dogs on a specific trail, that kind of thing.
Dr. Jennifer Kent (20m 37s):
And then I asked about the different modes that people were using. And so that’s how I came up with that figure. And at first we were astounded because there’s a of research, actually looking at the links between dog ownership and human health. And often they point to the fact that dog and his get more physical activity because they go in and walk the dog. But that research never thinks about the fact that people actually might start that working trick with a driving trip. They might actually drive somewhere and then walk the dog from there. So at first we were really, really interested in that. And then we looked deeper into the data and it wasn’t only, you know, trips to go and walk the dog somewhere specifically to take the dog too, a specific dog park.
Dr. Jennifer Kent (21m 22s):
It was more that people just liked taking the double onto things. So they liked a visiting family and friends or go into a cafe or going to a pub here in Australia with a dog. And that’s what I was generating all of those trips. And so we were pretty astounded by that number of car trips. And that’s when we started to look at well, perhaps it’s because of, they don’t have no alternative. They had perhaps a part of these trips could be solved by allowing people to use public transport with their dogs.
Jeff Wood (21m 53s):
I mean, a lot of dog owners will say that their dogs are like family. So for you, I mentioned that’s a very easy connection to make. So people taking their dogs to different places.
Dr. Jennifer Kent (22m 2s):
Yeah. There is research saying that that’s an increasingly popular phenomenon that dogs are considered part of the family now more than they ever used to be. There’s some sort of some interesting research. That’s done content analysis of dog names. And increasingly we’re seeing a shift towards giving dogs names that are actually more like human names. So previously it was phyto or pooch or a spot or whatever. And now I don’t know. What do you have a look? I don’t,
Jeff Wood (22m 30s):
My parents of had like black labs since I was born, but I haven’t had a dog on my own. Oh,
Dr. Jennifer Kent (22m 36s):
Beautiful dope Meehan, Labradoodles and gorgeous. Anyway, I’ve got a text, a wonderful, and her name is Olena, which is the perfect example of, you know, naming a dog with the kind of a name that you might give a child. And really I’ll be happily admit she was my first baby fissure and she knows it.
1 (22m 54s):
No, it’s a true, they, they, no. Yeah.
Jeff Wood (22m 59s):
Well, many of those pet owners you’ve also found was that many of them would like to use transit, but they can’t. When you did the survey, did you, I know it’s a survey, so you would get responses, but did you get a sense of their frustration that they couldn’t use transit for some of those trips?
Dr. Jennifer Kent (23m 12s):
Yeah, we did. There was some open-ended questions where people could tell us stories about when they being prevented from using public transport. And some of those stories were actually quite sad. So people were telling me about how they needed to get to the vet quickly, but they couldn’t because they weren’t able to use the bus. That was literally just outside of the front of the apartment that they had to walk over a kilometer with a dog, having a seizure, things like that. But there were other really interesting qualitative answers coming out with quite a few people had said that once they got a dog, they actually then went out, got a drivers license and brought a car purely because they needed to, or they wanted to travel around with that dog.
Dr. Jennifer Kent (23m 58s):
And subsequent to that. So many people have told me that they maintain a second car because they liked having the option to be able to take the dog places. So I think it sounds silly, but it’s just one of those little examples of the things that are keeping us in our private cars and a way from transitioning towards the less car dependent life.
Jeff Wood (24m 22s):
That make sense. I mean, for my parents, I mean, there’s a dog Carr in a non dog, a car, right? There’s one at the dogs are allowed in, in one that the dogs are not allowed in. So I can see whether that’s the case. And then I read some of those comments in your research paper. There’s a little bit of sadness in there that they couldn’t take their pets to the vet when they really needed to. Even though, like you said, there was a transit stop right in front of their house that would have taken them directly there. Maybe even waited overnight when they fretted doing that because they didn’t have access to a car. Yup. And then also a 20% of the people you surveyed said, they might even get rid of their cars if they’re are allowed back on transit, which was a, a, an interesting number to me as well. Well,
Dr. Jennifer Kent (24m 57s):
It’s, I mean, it’s hard, I’m always a bit skeptical about stated preference surveys, particularly in the context of, of a highly emotive sort of issue like this, but still even the fact that people considered either getting rid of the car all together are shedding one car from their family indicates that it’s something worth pursuing. There was another question in there that said that you no, would you change your travel behavior at all? And there are a lot more respondents who said that they would perhaps travel less by a private car, even if they still maintained their cars. So, yeah, it’s interesting.
Jeff Wood (25m 35s):
I also saw that there were a lot of respondents that are like, Nope, we’re not changing anything.
1 (25m 39s):
Yeah. Yeah. I mean,
Dr. Jennifer Kent (25m 42s):
And that just points, I think to the fact that in Sydney, there’s a lot of areas that are really poorly served by trans we call it a public transport. So it’s a silly question for them because they don’t have a public transport system to use.
Jeff Wood (25m 57s):
Right. Yeah. I think that’s the case for a lot of folks here to, and we also looked at the policy’s and different countries too. I mean, you look at European countries, mostly and the United States, but what did you find from looking at other countries and their policies about having dogs on public trains? Yeah,
Dr. Jennifer Kent (26m 11s):
We are. We actually went into this in quite a bit of detail and wanted to look at some of the reasons why we thought that some countries did allow dogs on public transport and others didn’t. But first of all, we found that there was actually quite a lot of sophistication to the policy mechanisms that are used. So it’s not just a matter of saying, yep, we can have a dog on public transport or no, you can’t. You can actually really tailor the policy to suit some of the, that are in the society. So we looked at some of the reasons why some people were against having dogs on public transport and a huge concern about Messe and smell.
Dr. Jennifer Kent (26m 55s):
And then that sort of related to the people who have a dog allergies, but in countries with dogs are a lot on public transport, is, are they quite often limited to one specific train carriage or limited to one particular area of the bus? And there is always a caveat that says that if somebody is really having an objection are a dog is really causing an issue that the public transport staff have the right to say, no, we’re not going to carry your dog. There were other big concerns about having to clean up after the dog. And when we spoke to the public transport agency here in Sydney, that was one of the number one concerns was what the cleaners would think about all of this.
Dr. Jennifer Kent (27m 36s):
And interestingly, the problem with that from even the traveling public was not necessarily having to deal with the dog waste or whatever, but having to pay for that. They didn’t want to have that cost lumped into their public transport ticket. But a lot of the country’s with dogs are allowed. You have to buy a ticket for the dog. And some countries, Zurich is my favorite. They actually have a, an annual pass for dogs that you can by. And they can use that as a pricing mechanism to reek out those costs. The costs do seem to escalate. Once dogs are allowed on the system, there were also a lot of policies that prevented dogs. We are traveling during peak hours, which is totally understandable.
Dr. Jennifer Kent (28m 20s):
If a bus was crowded, for example of the dog would be refused and always the policy stipulate, the, the dog needs to be on a lake and under the control of the owner at all times. So I guess what the message is that it’s not just a matter of a blanket prohibition or allowing the dogs, you can tailor the policy environment to really suit what’s going on with the community that you’re working with. And I think that’s really important in terms of implementing a policy into a city with that policy doesn’t exist already.
Jeff Wood (28m 52s):
I think if I ever went to a zero, which I hope I get to go to the Turks someday because of some of the research I’ve seen on some of the trams and things like that. But if I ever get to go, I think I might buy up a dog that even if I don’t bring a dog, I’m a buy a dog, a pass just to have it. I mean, it seems like a collectible almost to have the doggy pass. Oh, absolutely.
Dr. Jennifer Kent (29m 8s):
And one of the, I’ve got two different types of passes. One of the is actually a pipe for pass. So I’ve got one of those I’d frame it, how excited and that B and B pretty cool. There’s the other really interesting mechanisms too, like Austria, for example, they maintain what’s called forgive my German and Liston horns, which is like a list of dog braids that they deem need to actually have a license to be able to travel using the system. And if you don’t have that license, you can’t travel. What’s interesting to me though, is that that license actually requires more of a dog owner than a dog. So it is a test for the dog owner to make sure that the dog owner understands what he’s responsible dog ownership.
Dr. Jennifer Kent (29m 53s):
And I think that’s a really important part of this puzzle is making sure that people, no, what is expected of them when they’re in public with their dogs? Because I think it’s not that there’s a lot of people out there who don’t know, you know, that they’re supposed to clean up after their jobs and the not everybody likes dogs so that they need to keep the dog restrained, et cetera. It’s more just that we need a way to allay their concerns of people who were worried about that. And by having that sort of policy layer, we can say, okay, so these people have passed a test that says that they’re really aware of what is expected with them when they’re traveling in public with the dogs. That could be an important mechanism as well.
Dr. Jennifer Kent (30m 35s):
Jeff Wood (30m 35s):
And it seems like I mentioned earlier, it seems very emotional for some folks too. I mean, from the responses that you got two, one of your previous articles, it seems like a very hot topic and somewhat polarizing. It feels like,
Dr. Jennifer Kent (30m 47s):
Yeah, it is. And I mean, it’s interesting how every time I publish something on this, I’m always asked by like the top S radio stations we go in and talk and sometimes I’ll get crucified, which I find it enjoyable, but it’s still a thing. Spirit,
Jeff Wood (31m 6s):
Nobody enjoys getting crucified. No,
Dr. Jennifer Kent (31m 8s):
But it is. And that’s been reflected in the research as well. There’s research that just really proves there. A dump people in there are not dog people for whatever reason, dogs are really polarizing issue. And as we’re trying to provide a system that is public and publicly accessible and publicly enjoyable, we need to acknowledge that polarization, not just sort of plow ahead. And that’s something I’ve enjoyed in doing this research is coming at it from my personal perspective where obviously a dog person, I love dogs. I love companion animals. And I’m a true believer. And the health benefits of companion animals are not only for me as an individual, but for society and having to really put myself in the shoes of other people has been a really interesting experience, but it has made me reflect at urban planning, the transport planning.
Dr. Jennifer Kent (32m 2s):
That’s what it is. It’s trying to walk in other people’s shoes and see things from the perspective of others. So it’s been a great experience for me to do this research as well,
Jeff Wood (32m 14s):
Going back to some of those regulations from other countries. Yeah. I think it was M somewhere. I was at Milan that has a $2 limit. Maybe it was something like that. And then Parris has the role of where you have to have them in some sort of a container or some sort of a SAC or a satchel. And I’ve seen those Instagram posts where somebody tries to fit their golden retriever in, into a, like an Ikea bag so that they can go on a pair of transport. It’s a, it’s quite hilarious. I must say that they’re trying to fit the dogs out of the train or the bus. Yeah. I
Dr. Jennifer Kent (32m 41s):
Think that was actually the subway in New York. I think it was the, a bag. Maybe it was replicated in Paris. But the funny thing is about Paris is that, you know, with applying to the best of my friends and then referring two people who are a native French speaker is the actual regulation stipulates that it’s a basket test. So if you can fit the dog in a basket, it has no definition subsequent to that. And I’ve got a basketball
Jeff Wood (33m 10s):
And they don’t tell you that the basket is the end. It’s like
Dr. Jennifer Kent (33m 14s):
It doesn’t say sort of dumped carrier or appropriate carriage. It just says basket, which I find that quite quite and hilarious.
Jeff Wood (33m 24s):
No in Sydney, do you see people take the dogs on transport that are a tiny, that are the they’ll bring in a bag and then you’ll see their heads popping out. And just to kind of like, no, because they know that they’re not allowed, but they’re kind of sneaky.
Dr. Jennifer Kent (33m 38s):
No, look, we don’t generally see it on the train. I mean, I’m sure that it happens, but people take the regulation on the train, on the rail network really quite seriously. And you don’t see dogs on the train very much apple on the buses because they are actually permitted if a little dog and a bag. So you see it every now and again. And I’ve seen quite a few cats on buses as well, obviously being carried to the vet. Yeah. But people don’t thought that the regulations, which is interesting for Australia, because usually we’re pretty happy to push the boundaries of things. Is that a national pastime? Yeah. Well, I mean, it’s, that’s another piece of research that we did where we applied.
Dr. Jennifer Kent (34m 22s):
What’s called the state dimensions of national culture, two countries that prohibit and allow the dogs on public transport. So these Hofstede dimensions haven’t been used that much in transport, but I think they could be really useful at six different indices of national culture that have been developed mainly for marketing purposes. I think through N a, a rolling survey of the people around the world. And one of those indices is actually power distance, or a respect for authority and Australia ranks really low on that, which I, I mean, one of the things that I think it’d be a really interesting to apply it to its the roll out of bike sharing programs.
Dr. Jennifer Kent (35m 4s):
I dunno. I know if you guys a bit scooters over there and San Francisco.
Jeff Wood (35m 7s):
Yeah. Oh we have bike sharing. We have scooters. We have, we’ve had everything just because all the tech companies like to use this as a, as a test bed for everything. So we’ve had it all.
Dr. Jennifer Kent (35m 15s):
Yeah. With good and bad in Australia anyway, bike sharing, it was a debacle. We just a hopeless it sharing stuff and respecting other people’s property. Like bikes ended up in rivers and up trees and all over the place. We have that here too.
Jeff Wood (35m 35s):
Yeah. A certain cities had a lot more, but I think, you know, you always see kind of the decapitated bikes or things that are a little bit less taken care of. But I remember a Dallas specifically, I think Dallas had some problems with people throwing the bikes on the river and things like that. So it’s not uncommon here, but you
Dr. Jennifer Kent (35m 52s):
Can’t imagine that happening in Copenhagen or even a Berlin or it’s, it’s just such a different cultural appreciation for artifacts of transport bikes in particular and other people’s property.
Jeff Wood (36m 10s):
Yeah. Well, what’s your big takeaway from this research about Automobility overall? Is there something that you took away from this research and your research on families from just kind of general Automobility and how it’s kind of taken over?
Dr. Jennifer Kent (36m 22s):
I think it’s that need to just look beyond travel itself as determining transport behavior. I call it looking sideways from the car. We’ve got a look at what people are using the car for. We are going to have a more nuanced and a deeper appreciation for that. If we’re really going to figure out how to get people out of cars. I think that’s the key takeaway is that whole idea of transport as a metaphor, transport is a metaphor for all the other things that we do in our lives. Dogs are just one of those things, children shopping, all of the messiness that makes up modern life is what transport is accommodating.
Dr. Jennifer Kent (37m 4s):
And if we don’t have an understanding of that or at least in appreciation of it, then we were really going to continue struggling, trying to encourage people to use alternative ways of traveling to make their lives work. That’s the key thing. The other key message I think is if we, you ever want to attract a lot of survey participants asking people to have the dogs,
Jeff Wood (37m 27s):
Apparently they respond that children, but no
Dr. Jennifer Kent (37m 30s):
Children. Don’t, it’s a little bit about the dome,
Jeff Wood (37m 34s):
The dog fan. I guess I can see why people always want to talk about their they’re a little little buddies. I think it’s a, it’s so fun. I hope at some point we can get a dog. We’ll see where can folks find the research online if they want to get a hold of it, or
Dr. Jennifer Kent (37m 47s):
If you just searched for Jennifer L. Kent at the university of Sydney, my Google scholar profile would come up and all of the articles are there. Otherwise they can follow me on Twitter, which is Jennifer Kent at Jennifer Kent.
Jeff Wood (38m 0s):
Awesome. Well, Dr. Jennifer Kent, thank you so much for joining us. We really appreciate it.
Dr. Jennifer Kent (38m 5s):
Oh, thank you for having me. It’s been really interesting. I really appreciate it.