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

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. 

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Media Hit | Transportation

MA transportation system is falling behind

Massachusetts transportation infastructure in need of significant repair and investment.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Transportation

New National Safety Council Data Show 20% Percent Increase in Motor-Vehicle Fatalities in Massachusetts Compared to 2015

 

New data released from the National Safety Council (NSC), a nonprofit, non- governmental public service organization chartered by Congress to promote health and safety in the United States, found a troubling increase in the number of motor-vehicle fatalities during the first half of 2016.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Transportation

Fifteen Organizations Support Complaint Filed Over Eliminated MBTA Late-Night Service

Fifteen organizations have issued letters supporting the complaint filed to the Federal Transit Administration in July by the Conservation Law Foundation, Alternatives for Community and Environment and Greater Four Corners Action Coalition. The complaint asked the FTA to compel the MBTA to implement an alternative to the cancelled Late-Night Service that would reduce the disproportionately high and adverse effects cancelling Late-Night Service had on low-income and minority riders.

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Media Hit | Transportation

A Roadmap to Zero-Carbon Transportation

Our staff attorney Kirstie Pecci joined Tony Dutzik on BNN to discuss their vision for a zero-carbon transportation future.

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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.

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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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News Release | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Transportation for Massachusetts Releases The Next MassDOT

The Next MassDOT: A Transportation Vision for the Baker Administration, a new publication from Transportation for Massachusetts, providesrecommendations for strengthening the state’s transportation network.

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News Release | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Keeping On Track -- Progress of Funding and Reforming Transportation in Massachusetts

Progress report shows good amount of transportation finance law has been implemented in first seven months but the amount of funding still insufficient to meet all of state's transportation needs.

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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.

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Keeping On Track

This is the first of a series of regular progress report issued by Transportation for Massachusetts, Conservation Law Foundation and MASSPIRG to evaluate the health of the Commonwealth's transportation system and the implementation of the Transportation Finance Act. Clearly, available funds cannot meet all of the state's pressing transportation needs.

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

A New Course

How universities across America are at the forefront of finding new ways to meet the demands of Millenials for lifestyles with less driving.

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group | Transportation

Transportation in Transition

Americans’ transportation habits have changed. The average American drives 7.6 percent fewer miles today than when per-capita driving peaked in 2004.

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

A New Way to Go

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

 

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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