Electric cars may garner a lot of attention these days, but significantly reducing carbon emissions and urban congestion means investing in high-quality mass transit.
Andrew J. Hawkins argues in favor of boosting public transit as a crucial way to fight climate change, warning against the potential "death spiral" caused by declining ridership which reduces revenue, leading to worse service which discourages riders even further. As Hawkins writes,
There’s more at stake than good buses and trains. The recent report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change confirms that a hotter, wetter, more inhospitable future is all but certain. The transportation sector is responsible for nearly a third of greenhouse gases, most of which come from tailpipe emissions. High-quality mass transit can do a lot to fight climate change, but only if people are willing to use it.
Since the start of the pandemic, transit agencies have struggled against a raft of challenges as some riders abandon their systems while essential workers and other transit-dependent commuters rely on public transportation more than ever. Agencies around the country are implementing major service changes and reducing or eliminating fares in an effort to get riders back on board and expand the reach of their systems, with mixed results. These initiatives will create more benefits than just improved transit service for those who use it, transit supporters argue. As Hawkins concludes, "high-quality transit is the only real solution to our vast, seemingly intractable problems with climate change, inequality, land use, and housing."
The Triboro Line Has New Life as the 'Interborough Express'
A proposed transit line that would connect three New York City boroughs not named Manhattan has new, powerful political support.
Planning Trends to Watch in 2022
Building a framework of understanding for the year to come.
Mixed-Income 'Eco-Village' Planned in Michigan
A net-zero emissions development near Ann Arbor hopes to provide a model for sustainable communities.
600 Demolished Housing Units and a Development Controversy in Downtown Reno
A developer with a pattern of tearing down affordable housing units in Reno is attracting negative public attention in Reno, Nevada.
More Colorado Suburbs at Risk for Wildfires
Experts warn that more intense fires fueled by a warming climate are threatening an increasing number of Colorado's suburban communities.
Federal Railroad Administration Proposes New Midwest Rail Network
If built, regional high-speed rail networks could provide an alternative to uncomfortable air travel and prevent travelers from becoming stranded at airports during extreme weather.
Ferguson Township, Centre County, PA
Town of Palm Beach
Benton-Franklin Council of Governments (BFCOG)
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.