TransitCenter

American Cities’ Biggest Transportation Innovation is Decidedly Low-Tech

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[By Paul Goddin for Mobility Lab]

Long Island Bike Lane

American cities are adding bus and bike lanes, implementing bikeshare systems, and creating public plazas and miniature parks at a rapid pace.

Urban streets, long the domain of automobiles, are increasingly being reclaimed by and for the people, a change that amounts to the biggest transportation innovation in recent years, according to a new report by TransitCenter.

“A People’s History of Recent Transportation Innovation” details how strong alignment among local civic organizations, city leadership, and transportation agencies has yielded enduring changes in regional transportation systems.

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The Federal Government is Making Your Commute Worse

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[By Paul Goddin for Mobility Lab]

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There are a lot of reasons to be frustrated with the gridlocked federal government, but when it comes to transportation, this headline probably hits home the hardest. And it is the primary claim of a report released today, Subsidizing Congestion, by TransitCenter and The Frontier Group, that describes the numerous ways in which a relatively obscure U.S. tax policy impacts commuters.

The commuter tax benefit is a subsidy that allows employees to withhold money from their paychecks, tax-free, to spend on transit usage, parking fees, and other commute-related expenses.

From 2009 through 2013, the benefit was equal for all employees regardless of whether they drove or took transit. About a year ago, however, Congress decreased the cap on transit benefits from $245 to $130 per month. At the same time, the cap was increased for drivers, capped at $250 per month.

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Where You Live Determines Whether You Use Transit

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[Written by Paul Goddin for Mobility Lab]

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Transportation choice in America is largely a product of where one lives, which is both directly and indirectly dependent upon core values and attitudes.

This is a major finding in TransitCenter’s Who’s on Board: The 2014 Mobility Attitudes Survey, and it supports the idea that transportation and land use are inextricably linked.

While there is a high demand for quality public transportation nationwide, such infrastructure is often missing in the places where Americans currently live. The findings support the idea that there is an unmet demand for mixed-use, walkable urban places – called WalkUPs, a term coined by Christopher Leinberger, chair of George Washington University’s Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis.

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