21st Century Transportation

Efficient public transportation systems like intercity rail and clean bus systems would make America’s transportation future better for everyone by reducing traffic congestion and pollution, and increasing our options for getting around.

Public transit, biking and walking for the future

Changing Transportation: MASSPIRG Education Fund's series of reports on the dramatic changes underway in how Americans travel.

Americans are increasingly looking for more and better options to get around — options like expanded public transit, better biking alternatives, walkable neighborhoods and high-performance intercity trains. But while our transportation preferences are changing, too often our transportation policies are stuck in the past. 

Our work has helped to educate the public about the changing ways we get around and the need for policy reform to respond to and encourage further transformation. Our nation’s highway-focused transportation system leaves too many communities isolated from opportunity, creates too much pollution, causes health problems, and does a poor job of getting Americans where they want to go. While Americans increasingly want to live in communities with other ways to travel, our vision for a national transportation system is largely stuck in the 1950s. Instead of simply lurching from one funding crisis to the next, our nation needs to make smart choices that will prepare us for the 21st century. These include a forward-looking 21st century transportation system that serves more places, is more reliable, creates less pollution and reduces global warming emissions.

Some communities across the country are responding, implementing a vision for transportation that includes things like bridges designed for walkers, bikers, trains and streetcars, but not automobiles; bus stations that are also digital hot spots; smart traffic lights that communicate with cars, and other innovative solutions.

Through a series of well researched and eye opening reports, public outreach, and work with local coalitions and public officials, we've pushed for more forward-looking reforms. We’ve turned the tide against wasteful highway expansion boondoggles. We've encouraged Departments of Transportation to recognize and plan for a shift toward more balanced travel choices. We’ve demonstrated the enormous benefits that have been gained so far with reductions in the nation’s volume of driving. There’s much work ahead to promote new planning and policy approaches that accomplish these goals and MASSPIRG Education Fund is hard at work already. 

Check out our video showcasing our work to bring about better transportation options for America's future.


Issue updates

Blog Post | Transportation

MBTA to Riders: TAKE A HIKE | Kirstie Pecci

The MBTA's Fiscal Management and Control Board votes to raise fares by almost 10%. Citizens express outrage by taking over the meeting.

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Media Hit | Transportation

Kirstie Pecci and John Olivieri discuss how to reduce driving in Massachusetts on BNN

MASSPIRG's Kirstie Pecci and John Olivieri discuss their new report What's at Stake and how to reduce driving in Massahusetts with Chris Lovett on BNN. 

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Media Hit | Transportation

Boston.com Morning Show interviews John Olivieri on What's at Stake

MASSPIRG's John Olivieri talked with Kim Carrigan of Boston.com's Morning Show about our new report, What's at Stake, and the benefits reduced driving will have for Massachusetts.

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News Release | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

New Report Finds Small Decrease in Driving Would Save Bay Staters more than $20 Billion by 2030

A new report released today documents a potential savings of more than $20 billion for the Commonwealth’s residents and state budget. Transportation for Massachusetts (T4MA) and the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group Education Fund released their study on the benefits of reduced driving in the Commonwealth. The report finds that even small reductions in driving would yield substantial benefits between now and 2030. 

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Media Hit | Transportation

How much can Massachusetts save from driving less?

In a report to be released Monday, researchers say Massachusetts drivers can save about $2.3 billion annually if they hit the road just one percentage point less than they’re projected to drive from 2015 to 2030.

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Media Hit | Transportation

Let's not miss chance to revive Night Owl

"Let's not miss chance to revive Night Owl," Letter to the Editor 

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Media Hit | Transportation

Let's not miss chance to revive Night Owl

"Let's not miss chance to revive Night Owl," Letter to the Editor by MASSPIRG Staff Attorney, Kirstie Pecci

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Media Hit | Transportation

Smart Phones: Making Buses Cool Again?

Article highlights our report, "A New Way to Go: The Apps, Maps, and New Technologies that are Giving More Americans Freedom to Drive Less."

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News Release | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

New Study Finds Technology Enabling Americans to Drive Less

Vehicle Sharing Services, Transit Apps and Wi-Fi Contribute to National Driving Decline; Policy Needs to Catch Up

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News Release | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

New Report Shows Bay Staters Are Driving Less

Bay Staters have cut their per-person driving miles by 4.03% percent since 2004, mirroring similar reductions in 45 other states. The Commonwealth’s and nation’s long term driving booms appear to have ended, according to a new report from the MASSPIRG Education Fund.

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Waiting for a Ride

nevitably, aging experts note, a large share will find that their ability to navigate by vehicle diminishes or disappears over time. These millions of older adults will need affordable alternatives to driving alone in order to maintain their independence as long as possible.

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Do Roads Pay for Themselves?

A new report released today from MASSPIRG disproves the myth that road-building is paid for by user-fees, showing that gas taxes cover barely half the costs of building and maintaining roads.

 

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A Track Record of Success

Drawing lessons from other countries, a new study from MASSPIRG shows that high-speed rail can boost our economy, save energy, curb pollution and provide a popular alternative to congested roads and airports.

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The Road Work Ahead

Neglected maintenance of roads and bridges acts as a constant drain on our economy and a scourge on our quality of life. Rough and rutted roads cause accidents, damage vehicles, trigger traffic jams that lead to countless hours of delay, and waste money Americans need for other expenses.

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The Right Track

The Obama administration’s recent decision to award $1.2 billion in high speed rail funds to the Northeast Region is the first step towards a stronger, faster rail system that will reduce congestion, oil use, and carbon emissions, but there is much still to be done.

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News Release | MASSPIRG

 

In 2015, three Massachusetts school districts became among the first in the country to test electric school bus technology. A new report from MASSPIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group highlights the districts’ experience, along with those of five other early adopters, illuminating the successes, challenges and lessons learned.

Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund

New report profiles six case studies of early electric bus adopters across the nation. By understanding common pitfalls and best practices, cities, agencies and school districts can ensure a smoother roll-out of electric buses, helping reduce climate pollution and protect public health.

Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund

Volkswagen was caught cheating emissions laws and settled with federal authorities. The settlement included nearly $3 billion for the Environmental Mitigation Trust. How well does Massachusetts rank on plans for investing VW mitigation trust funds in clean transportation projects?

Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund

Infrastructure is at the heart of America’s greatest challenges. The infrastructure investments made by generations past have contributed to improved health and welfare, and to the nation’s unparalleled economic prosperity. But the infrastructure decisions of the past have also cast a long shadow, leaving America to deal with the burden of lead water pipes that jeopardize our children’s health, fossil fuel pipelines that contribute to global warming, and transportation and solid waste infrastructure that no longer serve today’s needs.

Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund

In much of America, access to a car is all but required to hold a job or lead a full and vibrant life. Generations of car-centric transportation policies – including lavish spending on roads, sprawl-inducing land use policies, and meager support for other modes of transportation – have left millions of Americans fully dependent on cars for daily living.

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MASSPIRG Education Fund is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to getting things done.