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

Millennials Want More Public Transportation | Sean Doyle

A new poll shows that access to public transportation is “very important” for Millennials in considering where to live and where to work.  The results support our research over the past few years that found Millennials are driving less than older generations and are more prone to walk, bike, or take transit to get where they need to go.

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News Release | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Who Pays For Roads?

Many Americans believe that drivers pay the full cost of the roads they use through gas taxes and other user fees. That has never been true, and it is less true now than at any other point in modern times. Today, general taxes paid by all tax- payers cover nearly as much of the cost of building and maintaining highways as the gas tax and other fees paid by drivers.

> Keep Reading
Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Who Pays For Roads

Many Americans believe that drivers pay the full cost of the roads they use through gas taxes and other user fees. That has never been true, and it is less true now than at any other point in modern times. Today, general taxes paid by all tax- payers cover nearly as much of the cost of building and maintaining highways as the gas tax and other fees paid by drivers.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Transportation

Transportation: Historic Snowfall Reveals We Have a Long Way To Go | Kirstie Pecci

This week Transportation for Massachusetts, the Conservation Law Foundation and MASSPIRG released their second progress report on funding and reforms created by the Transportation Finance Act of 2013. The report, Keeping on Track: Our Second Progress Report on Reforming and Funding Transportation Since Passage of the Massachusetts Transportation Finance Act of 2013, evaluates the progress made and the challenges that have arisen since enacting that law.

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Media Hit | Transportation

Boston's MBTA plan for later service is a welcome switch

Night Owl service is coming back! Beginning next spring, the MBTA will be running selected buses and trains util 3 a.m. on weekends.

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News Release | MASSPIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group | Transportation

Report Shows Boston Driving Less

Report "Transportation In Transition:  A Look at Changing Travel Patterns in America's Biggest Cities" shows Boston driving less, reducing car commuting and making gains in biking.

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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 

> Keep Reading
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 

> Keep Reading

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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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