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

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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News Release | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Transportation for Massachusetts, Conservation Law Foundation, and MASSPIRG Release 2nd Installment of Keeping On Track

T4MA, CLF and MASSPIRG release report on progress of funding and reforming transportation in Massachusetts.

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Keeping On Track

Keeping on Track provides you with updated information about the financial state of the Commonwealth's transportation system, completed statutory requirements, missed deadlines, and improvements made through new transportation investments.

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

The Innovative Transportation Index

This report reviews the availability of 11 technology-enabled transportation services – including online ridesourcing, carsharing, ridesharing, taxi hailing, static and real-time transit information, multi-modal apps, and virtual transit ticketing – in 70 U.S. cities. It finds that residents of 19 cities, with a combined population of nearly 28 million people, have access to eight or more of these services, with other cities catching up rapidly.

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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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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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What We Learned From the Stimulus

Stimulus money invested in public transportation projects created twice as many jobs as highway projects, according to a new report released today by MASSPIRG, in conjunction with the Center for Neighborhood Technology and Smart Growth America.

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Greasing the Wheels

The United States has 73,000 crumbling bridges, but year after year, startlingly few federal transportation dollars go to fixing them.

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Private Roads, Public Costs

A growing number of states are considering arrangements in which a private operator provides an up-front payoff or builds a new road in return for decades of escalating toll receipts. The report assesses these deals and identifies a number of problems.

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Economic Stimulus or Simply More Misguided Spending?

The economic recovery package will present an opportunity to advance widely recognized, new transportation priorities for the 21st century. It will be up to Congress, the Obama Administration, and the states to make sure that happens. So far, however, too many of the states are off to a troubling start.

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