Ways to Go Documentary Looks at Power of Built Environment

A new film looks to explore the power of the built environment and how the walking movement is sweeping the US. In Ways to Godocumentary filmmaker Todd Drezner explores the possibilities and challenges of building livable communities that promote walking, biking, and transit.  The film provides both a history of how the car came to dominate cities and a dramatic look at how activists, governments, and private companies are working to create a more equitable and sustainable transportation future.


Revisiting an often forgotten episode of racial discrimination, Ways to Go begins in Syracuse, New York, where a community reckons with the legacy of the “urban renewal” that allowed an elevated highway to destroy an African American neighborhood.

Now, that highway—I-81—is crumbling, the elevated portion must come down, and Syracuse debates whether it should be rebuilt or replaced with a boulevard.  The question is whether the community can create the equitable city for all that Syracuse failed to build in the 20th Century

Meanwhile, on Chicago’s South Side, the same low income and African American communities that were victims of urban renewal might be missing out on the city’s new efforts to transform itself.

This segment follows Oboi Reed, an African American activist, who bikes all over Chicago and sees the bike lanes and bike share resources on the whiter, wealthier North Side.

On the South Side, in contrast, bikes are seen as “for kids or white people.”  Reed wants to change that by leading community bike rides in non-biking neighborhoods.  And he’s urging the city to finally bring equitable transportation resources to his long neglected neighborhood.

Equitable transportation is also the promise of Uber, the controversial ride sharing app that seeks to be “everyone’s private driver”—eventually in cars that don’t even require drivers.  Uber promises to reduce traffic and provide service to neighborhoods that traditional car services avoid.  But will this private company really support the public interest?

Along with these three interconnected stories, Ways to Go features interviews with prominent figures in transportation and livable streets, including U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, Robin Chase (co-founder of Zipcar), Gabe Klein (author of Start-Up City), Peter Norton (author of Fighting Traffic), “Gridlock Sam” Schwartz, and others.

Currently raising funds to complete production and post-production, Ways to Go is tentatively scheduled for completion in Summer 2017.

Ways to Go is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions for the charitable purposes of Ways to Go must be made payable to Fractured Atlas only and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. Click here to make a secure online donation.