Opinion: Transportation Funding Priorities Are Outdated

Investing in technology and promoting innovation in the transportation sector can further the Biden administration's goals of reducing carbon emissions and improving public transit.

Read Time: 1 minute

May 26, 2021, 10:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Bridgeport Rail

rik-shaw / Flickr

Despite the head-spinning advances in technology in the last few decades, write Tiffany Chu and Daniel Ramot in Bloomberg CityLab, "only a small fraction of public transportation budgets are allocated to innovation and technology, lagging significantly behind other sectors." This, argue the authors(who are also "founders of transit technology companies whose software powers public transportation systems in hundreds of cities across the world"), has hindered the development of effective and equitable transit systems. The federal government should, in their opinion, "radically rethink its approach" to transportation funding and support local agencies in implementing innovations that will improve service.

"If we want to make real progress in creating a new vision for American mobility, the Biden Administration and Congress will need to stop funding transportation like it’s the 1980s. It is time to move past our excessive focus on large highway capital projects and remove limitations that constrain how cities and rural communities deploy public transportation." 

Chu and Ramot include several recommendations that they believe can help us "plan smarter transit networks, build safer streets, and launch more nimble services designed to immediately enhance transportation for those who need it most," which include creating dedicated funding to "drive innovation," tying funding to concrete outcomes, and funding transit operations as well as equipment.

Monday, May 17, 2021 in Bloomberg CityLab

Green bike lane with flexible delineators and textures paint in Hoboken, New Jersey

America’s Best New Bike Lanes

PeopleForBikes highlights some of the most exciting new bike infrastructure projects completed in 2022.

January 31, 2023 - PeopleforBikes

Walkable, mixed-use neighborhood in Barcelona, Spain

Conspiracy Theorists Discover the 15-Minute City

USA Today debunks the false claim that the United Nations’ call for enabling 15-minute cities is a coded plan to institute ‘climate change lockdowns.’

February 8, 2023 - USA Today

Aerial view of MBTA commuter rail station in Concord, Massachusetts among green trees

Massachusetts Zoning Reform Law Reaches First Deadline

Cities and towns had until January 31 to submit their draft plans for rezoning areas near transit stations to comply with a new state law.

February 1, 2023 - Streetsblog Mass

Washington

Washington Could Legalize Single-Staircase Buildings

Supporters of ‘point access blocks,’ which are common in Europe and other parts of the world, say the design maximizes living space and lowers the cost of construction.

February 8 - The Urbanist

View of downtown San Francisco from top of windy street at sunset with Coit Tower in distance

San Francisco Housing Plan Gets State Approval

The city cleared a major hurdle as its housing plan, which paves the way for 82,000 new homes by 2030, is certified by the state.

February 8 - KALW

Green Line, Los Angeles

Rail Transit Plans Would Connect L.A.’s South Bay to the Regional Rail System

Two new transit extensions promise several new routes for South Bay residents to access the Los Angeles region’s transit system.

February 8 - The Source