Despite Lean Budgets, European Transit Goes Green

Despite widespread budget woes and austerity programs, European cities are pushing forward with plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by retrofitting existing transit systems in a "slow-motion revolution" in electric transport, reports Erica Gies.
July 8, 2013, 1pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"As Vienna shifts to electric buses, it is striving to be a leader in green transportation by testing new systems that can potentially create a cleaner, quieter downtown," writes Gies. "Vienna is one of several European cities — struggling to square tight budgets with civic goals to meet climate targets — that are experimenting with new electric vehicles and infrastructure systems for buses and trains."

"With the European Union’s ambitious goals to reduce global warming, these cutting-edge technologies are part of a slow-motion revolution in urban transit," she adds.

"These technologies are not yet a clear economic success. For now, city governments, like Heilbronn and Vienna, regularly subsidize ticket prices. Some cities, cautious about vehicle and battery performance, are limiting electric buses to lines with lighter passenger loads and shorter routes. But companies say they are playing the long game, evolving their electric transit technologies to reduce air and noise pollution and add convenience that attracts additional passengers."

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Published on Sunday, July 7, 2013 in The New York Times
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