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

Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

How Reliable Is the T?

HOW RELIABLE IS THE T?  On its “Back on Track Performance Dashboard,” the MBTA publishes daily reliability ratings. How accurate are they? Despite customer satisfaction surveys that indicate over 40 percent of riders find the T to be unreliable, the reliability ratings consistently hover around 90 percent. This report recommends improvements to the method the MBTA uses to calculate reliability that will lead to more accurate ratings.

> Keep Reading
Media Hit | Transportation

Boston's rush hour is starting earlier, lasting longer

MASSPIRG Staff Attorney Matt Casale appeared on Boston 25 News on September 5 to talk about our traffic problem.

> Keep Reading
News Release | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

WITH MASSACHUSETTS PLEDGING TO COMPLY WITH GOALS OF PARIS AGREEMENT, NEW REPORT FINDS $75 MILLION IN VOLKSWAGEN SETTLEMENT FUNDS COULD HELP ACCELERATE ALL ELECTRIC TRANSPORTATION REVOLUTION

A new report from the MASSPIRG Education Fund finds that $75 million from the Volkswagen (VW) settlement is headed to Massachusetts to help clean up the country’s transportation system and strongly recommends using the funds to purchase electric vehicle fast charging stations for highways along with an aggressive expansion of all-electric transit buses to replace aging, dirty, diesel buses. The report finds the state could supply between 112 and 224 additional fast charging stations, and could purchase around 79 all-electric, zero-emissions buses, reducing dangerous pollution and saving money, all while accelerating market transformation to an all-electric transportation system. 

> Keep Reading
Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

From Deceit to Transformation

Volkswagen (VW) perpetuated a fraud on the American people, deceiving consumers into believing that they were getting the best possible combination of performance and sustainability. But VW’s promises were nothing more than lies that significantly harmed our collective health and the health of our environment. As a result of the settlements that followed this fraud, an Environmental Mitigation Trust (EMT) was set up with $2.9 billion dollars to be distributed to states to reduce transportation emissions, with $75 million coming to Massachusetts. 

> Keep Reading
Media Hit | Transportation

MA transportation system is falling behind

Massachusetts transportation infastructure in need of significant repair and investment.

> Keep Reading

Pages

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. 

> Keep Reading
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.

> Keep Reading
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. 

> Keep Reading
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.

> Keep Reading
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

Pages

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
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.

> Keep Reading
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.

> Keep Reading
Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

The Next MASSDOT

Massachusetts is at a pivotal moment with regard to transporation. In recent year, the Commonwealth has taken the first steps toward reversing the transportation system's long slide into debt and decay. Long-awaited reforms to transportation agencies are under way. Long-deferred projects to repair and modernize our transportation system are finally moving forward.

> Keep Reading
Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Millennials in Motion

Millennials are less car-focused than older Americans and previous generations of young people, and their transportation behaviors continue to change in ways that reduce driving. Now is the time for the nation’s transportation policies to acknowledge, accommodate and support Millennials’ demands for a greater array of transportation choices.

> Keep Reading

Pages

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.

News Release

Getting rid of that black cloud of exhaust behind our buses, and the negative health and environmental effects that come along with it, is easier than it may seem. According to a new report from MASSPIRG Education Fund and Environment Massachusetts Research and Policy Center, electric buses are not only cleaner and healthier than diesel buses, but transit agencies and school districts have many affordable options at their disposal to adopt them.

Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund

Electric buses are here, and they are cleaner and healthier than their diesel counterparts. They save money over the long-run, but the purchase price of an electric bus is greater than that of a diesel bus. Many transit agencies and school districts want to make the switch, but struggle with overcoming the hurdle of the purchase price. This new report lays out funding and financing options that will help transit agencies and school districts ditch diesel and get us on the road to a cleaner, healthier world. 

View AllRSS Feed

Support Us

Your tax-deductible donation supports MASSPIRG Education Fund’s work to educate consumers on the issues that matter, and to stand up to the powerful interests that are blocking progress.

Learn More

You can also support MASSPIRG Education Fund’s work through bequests, contributions from life insurance or retirement plans, securities contributions and vehicle donations.