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Institute for Transportation and Development Policy;
This implementation playbook outlines critical steps and decision points to implement a bus rapid transit (BRT) corridor in Massachusetts between the cities of Everett and Boston. Included are data-rich insights into specific on-the-ground conditions and illustrations of creative bus priority improvements in Everett along a potential Everett-to-Boston BRT corridor. The playbook highlights how the City of Everett, in collaboration with Boston, as well as state agencies and other adjacent municipalities can continue to be a municipal leader in transit innovation.Everett, Massachusetts is a diverse, vibrant community of 40,000 bordering Boston that, despite a critical lack of transit-specific infrastructure, has become a regional and national leader in transit-oriented development and bus-based transit innovation. It was a pioneer in installing peak-hour bus lanes at a time when other cities were worried about whether such lanes would be feasible and has continued to demonstrate the benefits of planning that prioritizes people over vehicles.Lessons in the playbook, especially around trade-offs, show how Everett and other communities in greater Boston can improve the bus rider experience. Each of Everett's transit-priority interventions has brought the city closer to a full-fledged BRT corridor. Conditions in Everett—with narrow roadways, complex traffic patterns and nearly a dozen bus routes—have posed challenges to implementing a full bus rapid transit system. BRT improves accessibility, equitability, and legibility, making the bus transit experience more time-efficient and easier to use and understand. Many creative solutions have brought and will continue to bring the city and region closer to this goal.While the playbook is focused on getting to BRT in and between Everett and Boston, it offers many lessons that are applicable to cities across the nation who are looking to build BRT across municipal lines and on roadways with limited width.
National League of Cities;
As Congress debates the President's proposed American Jobs Plan (AJP) and an infrastructure infusion, the National League of Cities (NLC) met with city leaders across the United States to ask one simple question: "What is your top infrastructure priority?" From the smallest to largest communities, every place has a story to tell, and Ready to Rebuild shows a range of transportation, water, broadband and workforce projects across the country from communities of all sizes. While projects are different, the message from local officials is the same: infrastructure is a job worth doing, but in most places, it's now beyond what the local government can handle on their own. Far worse, the perpetual waiting game in Washington means the risk and consequences are building up to an emergency spill over point. Most local governments know exactly what needs to be done to fix their infrastructure, but they simply can't afford it.
Metropolitan Area Planning Council;
This guide lays out a recipe to help local staff members, leaders, and advocates identify the right ingredients to launch successful bus improvements in high ridership, high delay corridors in their communities. These projects can seem daunting in their complexity, but they are important tools in achieving climate, equity, and transit goals, as well as improving quality of life for the thousands of people in our region.The guide identifies crucial stakeholders and project milestones. It offers examples of successful strategies, and it distills lessons learned. We identified six bus priority projects that started turning the wheels of change in the region. These projects were the first to involve quick, temporary, and easy to change elements in order to influence the permanent design.The information this guide sets forth was drawn from over thirty in-depth interviews with stakeholders involved in the six different projects we identify below:Everett's inbound bus lane on BroadwayBoston's inbound bus lane on Washington Street in RoslindaleArlington's inbound bus lane on Massachusetts AvenueCambridge and Watertown's inbound bus lane on Mount Auburn StreetBoston's inbound bus lane on Brighton Avenue in BrightonSomerville's inbound and outbound bus lanes on BroadwayThese six projects are described in detail in the individual case studies found after the workbook. You'll find examples from these projects throughout this guide that illustrate the different strategies municipal staff and their partners have used to accomplish progressive bus improvements.Every project's recipe will be different, and will require different ingredients, as well as different amounts of each. The projects showcased in this guide may not be directly applicable to your community, but they offer a framework for considering strategies to improve bus transit. With the ingredients presented in this document, we encourage you to innovate and experiment. Not all will apply to your situation, and not all will follow the same order as we have them listed here. This guide is not prescriptive, but instead offers direction based on the experience of people involved in the six local bus improvement projects that were studied.
Environmental and Energy Study Institute;
Autonomous vehicles (AVs) are an emerging technology in surface transportation with tremendous potential to change the way individuals and communities interact with the built environment. The widespread use of AVs could also have a substantial impact on greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, which is responsible for the largest share of emissions in the United States at 28 percent. The vast majority of those transportation emissions—82 percent—are from cars and trucks, many of which could be replaced with AVs. A recent study suggests that half of new vehicles could be autonomous by 2050, and half of the entire vehicle fleet by the 2060s. Another, related key trend in transportation is electrification: more than half of all new passenger vehicles will be electric by 2040, according to a BloombergNEF study, and most AVs are expected to be electric. Whether AVs increase or reduce greenhouse gas emissions could help make or break efforts at keeping climate change in check. This issue brief reviews the projected environmental impacts of AVs, the benefits AVs could provide as a form of mass transit, and an overview of AV development, testing, and policies in the United States as well as internationally.
A Better City;
Over the past several years, many valuable public realm projects have been implemented in Boston. In 2015, A Better City partnered with the Boston Transportation Department to develop the Public Realm Planning Study for Go Boston 2030. As co-chair of the Go Boston 2030 Plan, A Better City identified the untapped potential of Boston's transportation system to function as a network of vibrant public spaces that would support social, cultural, and economic activities. The process also highlighted a need for new short- and long-term public space strategies to reclaim underutilized transportation infrastructure in our neighborhoods.Building on this work, in December 2018, A Better City partnered with the City of Boston to publish Boston's first Tactical Public Realm Guidelines, designed to catalyze "tactical" interventions—such as plazas, parklets, outdoor cafes, and street murals—that can transform the public realm through lower-cost, rapid implementation. These modest interventions can convert our streets into spaces in which to convene, create, and experiment, fostering more vibrant communities and economies alike. As a testament to the importance of this work, the City of Boston hired a Public Realm Director in 2018 and integrated the Tactical Public Realm Guidelines into the City's Public Improvement Commission review process. A Better City has also worked with the City of Boston to develop sidewalk cafe guidelines and to convene a public realm interagency working group.A Better City has undertaken several public realm projects to date, including two outdoor seating projects in East Boston, a one week pop-up tactical plaza and permanent tactical plaza design in Roslindale Village, and a parklet design on Green Street in Jamaica Plain.The groundwork laid by these projects and the tactical guidelines, proved to be extremely beneficial in 2020 when the global pandemic created a tremendous need for flexible public space to help support local businesses, namely restaurants. For example, in many commercial districts across Boston, parklets were quickly installed to help support physically distanced outdoor dining.This publication includes case study summaries of the planning, design, and implementation process for three projects managed by A Better City—Birch Street Plaza, Green Street Plaza, and Outdoor Seating in East Boston— as well as a fourth case study describing the six pop-up plazas implemented by the City of Boston Director of Public Realm.
In this paper, we use the "15-minute city" model as a jumping off point. This can feel like yet another urban planning buzzword, but we find it powerful for articulating a vision of what Greater Boston could become. Designed by Carlos Moreno and popularized by Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, the 15-minute city model aims to build vibrant, mixed-use neighborhoods where all residents can reach their daily needs within a 15-minute walk of their home. Our vision for Greater Boston is distinct because we add a few extra points of emphasis. First, we worry that a hyper-local focus can lead to a few, disconnected, amenity-rich islands of privilege, so we've designed our vision to be regional in nature, moving toward an interconnected network of 15-minute neighborhoods across Greater Boston.Second, we emphasize high-quality public transit and bike options as supplements to improved walkability. Third, we believe that 15 minute neighborhoods should reflect our region's racial and socioeconomic diversity, and any comprehensive regional planning initiative should be a means to reverse the entrenched patterns of racial and economic segregation. To accomplish this, the planning, creation, and stewardship of 15-minute neighborhoods must truly center the voices and needs of those who have historically been left on the margins, including Black, Indigenous and other residents of color, low-wealth residents, new immigrants, and those with disabilities.
Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health;
A new study that quantifies the total and interstate deaths from transportation-related air pollution from five vehicle types in 12 states and Washington, D.C. has been published in Environmental Research Letters. The research was led by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health.The study is part of the Transportation, Equity, Climate, and Health project (TRECH), a multi-university research team from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston University, University of North Carolina, and Columbia University, which analyzes policy scenarios to address carbon pollution from the transportation sector.Key TakeawaysOzone and fine particulate matter from vehicle emissions in 2016 led to an estimated 7,100 deaths in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the U.S., and pollution from tailpipe emissions is also traveling across state lines, harming the health of people living in cities and states downwind.Region wide, light-duty trucks, which include SUVs, were responsible for the largest number of premature deaths at 2,463 followed by light-duty passenger vehicles (1,881) and heavy-duty trucks (1,465)All states experienced substantial health impacts from vehicle emissions and can gain health benefits from local action.New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey were hardest hit with health damages at $21 billion, $13 billion, and $12 billion, respectively, in 2016 (the most recent data available from EPA).Many states are heavily impacted by out-of-state emissions and some states cause more deaths out-of-state than in-state, including PA and NJ, highlighting the importance of region-wide action to reduce vehicle emissions.On a ton for ton basis, buses in the New York-Newark-Jersey City metropolitan area had the largest health damages at $4 million for every ton of particulate matter emitted.Ammonia emissions play a stronger relative role in causing health damages compared to oxides of nitrogen. Regionally, ammonia emissions from vehicles were responsible for 740 premature deaths in 2016, more than 10% of the total deaths. Ammonia emissions from vehicles are an unintended by-product of catalytic converters and are unregulated in the U.S., and their role in urban air pollution has been generally under appreciated.
Globally, aviation is a major contributor to rising greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). In recent years, annual emissions from aviation have increased by 4-5%, up to the start of the COVID crisis in 2020. Although the pandemic has led to a temporary decline in aviation emissions, air travel is projected to return to its skyrocketing pre-pandemic levels as early as 2024. Without political action to counter its growth prospects, the aviation industry will become one of the biggest emitting sectors globally and by 2050 it will have consumed up to a quarter of the global carbon budget for achieving the 1.5°C Paris Agreement goal.Under pressure for their skyrocketing emissions, some actors in the aviation sector have recently pledged to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. But no company in the sector has pledged to effectively cut greenhouse gas emissions in order to achieve real-zero decarbonisation. Instead, the industry and political leaders are relying on excessive optimism about false or technological solutions, such as carbon offsetting, electric planes and alternative fuels that are either ineffective, harmful for the environment or a long way from being viable in the coming decades or easily available at the required volumes. Researchers have highlighted that these "technology myths" are stalling the necessary progress in climate policy for aviation. While other transport sectors, such as rail and road, can – to a certain extent – directly use electricity based on renewable sources such as solar and wind power, similar solutions do not yet exist for aviation. The goal of real-zero emissions will not be achieved without a significant reduction in flights.
Center for Neighborhood Technology;
This guide is meant to advance equity in the transportation field. Across the nation, there is growing recognition that transportation policies and investments have harmed, and been used as tools to marginalize, Black and brown neighborhoods, people with disabilities, and other groups. Initiated and funded by the Barr Foundation, this guide seeks to help public agencies, and the advocates and organizers who influence them, to make decisions that advance transportation equity.This guide reviews six of the nation's leading tools for assessing potential equity impacts of new transportation policy decisions, explains the context and preconditions for the effective use of these tools, and suggests complementary activities. People who work at transportation public agencies at all levels are the primary audiences for this tool, as they have the power and responsibility to change their behavior; advocates, organizers, and community groups can also use this guide to encourage their public agency partners to use the tools profiled here.
International Chamber of Shipping;
Decarbonisation and the creation of (net) zero carbon fuels presents a significant economic opportunity for shipowners, companies and countries, as fuel producers, importers and exporters. This report, written in collaboration with Professor Dr Stefan Ulreich, University of Applied Sciences, Biberach, Germany, presents new research that demonstrates how shipping will play a fundamental role in delivering these fuels globally and act as an enabler for governments and industries to achieve their climate targets.It showcases why the maritime industry must be accounted for in international decarbonisation plans and have access to the same (net) zero carbon fuels they will be transporting to decarbonise; the world's renewable energy generation would need to increase up to 100% just to supply enough (net) zero carbon fuel to power the shipping industry.The enormous scale of the opportunity and transformation of the fourth propulsion revolution for governments, ports, developing economies, and key maritime stakeholders is laid out in this report.
New analysis by environmental research group DeSmog, commissioned by Greenpeace Netherlands, "Words vs. Actions, the truth behind the advertising of the car and airline industries", shows how European airline and car companies use advertising to evade their climate responsibilities by either exaggerating their corporate response to the climate crisis or completely ignoring the damage their products cause. Greenpeace Netherlands selected a representative sample of ten European airlines and car makers, and DeSmog then analysed a year's worth of their advertising content from the Facebook Ad Library, comprising ads posted on both Facebook and Instagram for European audiences. The analysis of 864 car advertisements and 263 airline advertisements suggests that the companies are greenwashing, in other words presenting a deceptively environmentally friendly image.In Europe, more than 30 organisations are supporting a campaign to legally end fossil advertising and sponsorship in the EU, much like the long-established directive banning tobacco sponsorships and advertisements. If the campaign collects one million verified signatures in a year, the European Commission is obliged to respond to the proposal.
Eno Center for Transportation;
Cities, states, and metropolitan areas across the United States are looking to invest in a range of public transit projects in order to connect people to jobs and economic opportunity, reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, and shape development patterns. According to one estimate, the United States invested about $50 billion in new transit projects in just the last decade.1 These include underground subways in Los Angeles, commuter rail lines along the Front Range near Denver, a streetcar in downtown Atlanta, light rail lines in suburban Phoenix, and bus rapid transit in Richmond, Virginia, among many others.While these projects are as diverse as the country itself, they all have one thing in common: increased scrutiny over their costs and timelines to build. A few very visible projects have reinforced the narrative that rail transit investments have systemic issues that are endemic to the United States.This all begs the questions: Is this true? If so, why? And what should we do about it?These are precisely the questions Eno set out to answer through this research, policy, and communications project to analyze current and historical trends in public transit project delivery. We convened a set of advisors and conducted in-depth interviews with key stakeholders to understand the drivers behind mass transit construction, cost, and delivery in the United States. A comprehensive database of rail transit projects was created and curated to compare costs and timelines among U.S. cities and peer metropolitan areas in Western Europe and Canada. Through this quantitative and qualitative approach, we developed actionable recommendations for policy changes at all levels of government as well as best practices for the public and private sectors.