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New Transportation Guide for the Eastern U.S.
Effort to Transform and Modernize System


To help promote a regional clean transportation plan in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Region of this country, the NRDC has put out a new report with particular recommendations based on types of communities.

The Natural Resources Defense Council recently released a report aimed at helping fix a broken transportation system in the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic region that they say "is contributing to climate change, air pollution, overcrowded highways, deteriorating public transit systems, lost economic opportunities, rural isolation and inequality for low-income people."

The report, "Transportation Reimagined: A Roadmap for Clean and Modern Transportation in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Region" was in response to governors in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont, and the mayor of Washington, D.C. last fall committing to developing a regional clean transportation plan. The goal is to cut carbon pollution from the nation's largest source - the transportation sector.

"We suffer in gridlock, choke on car and truck exhaust, drive on decaying roadways, cope with substandard public transit, and walk and bike on dangerous streets," said Bruce Ho, senior advocate and principal author of NRDC's report.

Recommendations in the report include: substantially expanding electric cars, trucks, buses (EVs); encouraging more walkable and bike-friendly living areas; upgrading public bus, train and subway transit; reducing congestion; and addressing rural and low-income communities that are particularly underserved today when it comes to their transportation needs.

The NRDC believes that following their guidelines "would yield enormous health and environmental benefits. That includes generating billions of dollars of economic growth, major job expansion, improved safety and mobility, reduced respiratory illnesses and asthma, and a safer climate."

Specifics for rural, suburban and urban communities are listed by the NRDC as:

Rural Communities
• Expanding public transit, providing flexible route bus service and better rapid transit could ease key rural problems. Rural households spend 7 percent more of their budgets on transportation compared to their urban counterparts. Rural workers travel 38 percent more than urban workers, and low-income rural workers travel 59 percent more.
• Improved mobility options for older Americans can keep them independent, decrease isolation and connect them with medical services.
• Creating walkable, bikeable Main Streets could improve quality of life.

Suburban Communities
• Strategies include improving pedestrian walkways and bike lanes in suburban communities, and linking them to transit corridors.
• Intercity rail should be expanded to help commuters get to their jobs, particularly low-income and service workers. Electrified commuter trains and other infrastructure upgrades could reduce emissions and improve speeds and efficiency.
• Suburban communities should develop more electric vehicle charging stations, which would support transitioning drivers out of gasoline-fueled vehicles to electric vehicles, reducing emissions.

Urban Communities
• Cities should develop more compact, multi-use housing and businesses, walkable and bikeable neighborhoods and improved public transit, all of which could reduce roadway congestion. Today, three of the top 10 most traffic congested cities in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region are Boston, New York and Washington, D.C.
• Cities should ensure development of affordable housing near public transit. This can revitalize vacant parcels, while preventing displacement from gentrification.
• More electric buses and other clean vehicles should be deployed, reducing emissions, making neighborhoods quieter and improving air quality.
• Cities should switch to electric-powered heavy trucks and other equipment at ports, airports, and truck depots to reduce pollution in surrounding neighborhoods, which often are low-income and communities of color.

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August 24, 2019, 4:20 pm PDT

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