Clean and Just Transportation Program

The Transportation Program aims to reduce greenhouse gases resulting from transportation in California, and the SF Bay Area in particular. Our goal is 40% less by 2030, in accordance with State law.  Key measures to achieve these cuts include:

  • Cleaner Vehicles–electrify transportation with clean energy (regulated by the California Air Resources Board-CARB)
  • Transit–public transit, biking, and walking (managed by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission-MTC)
  • Other Climate Initiatives by MTC–carpooling, pricing parking to reduce single occupancy vehicles, and more
  • Clean Freight regulations–managed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB)

MONTHLY Transportation Campaign Meeting

Transportation is the Bay Area’s biggest single source of greenhouse gas emissions. Localities, even those that have declared a climate emergency, are not meeting their climate goals. Join us to work on electrifying transportation, supporting charging infrastructure, cleaner trucks, and providing clean, cheap, convenient on-time transit for everyone.

RSVP here

OUR VISION

Our vision of transportation is climate-friendly, convenient, affordable and available to all. The emphasis is on moving people rather than vehicles, and on being there rather than getting there.

1. Cities and towns are walkable and bikeable

 

The foundations of a healthy transportation system are communities where people feel safe and comfortable walking. Every trip begins and ends on foot (or wheelchair). The more inviting the environment, the farther people are willing to walk.

We envision safe sidewalks, visible crosswalks, and protected bike lanes everywhere. Going by foot or bike will be simple for all kinds of short trips. We envision secure bicycle parking at shops, transit, schools, workplaces, etc.

2. It’s electric

We envision a time when cars and buses no longer have tailpipes. No more exhaust fumes! No more pumping endless amounts of oil from the ground, only to explode it in car engines and vent it into the air. Driving an internal combustion engine vehicle will be as unacceptable as smoking in a restaurant or a theater and as out of date as a horse and buggy.

Electric-assist bicycles will provide a wider segment of the population the option to go longer distances. We can take a walk or ride a shared bike to go shopping, and come back in an electric vehicle with what we bought (unless it’s a big appliance we’ll have delivered by electric light truck). Electricity will power trucks, trains, and ships as well as cars and buses.

Cities and counties in the Bay Area will have electric power made from 100% clean energy sources like wind and sun. Many will have community-choice energy programs that let citizens choose the source and bring the generation jobs here.

3. public transit is efficient

People regularly use public transit, which is frequent, reliable and convenient. Trunk lines run at regular frequent intervals fed by on-demand public and private systems.

4. we live closer

We envision living near where we need to go as much as possible. No more three-hour commutes! Houses and apartments should be located near employers, schools, hospitals and shopping areas. All new development will be located with a convenient walk to frequent transit. Many homes now can be reached only by automobile. Not building more of them will eliminate a major source of increased GHGs as the population grows, and keep congestion from getting worse.

5. we share rides

We envision fewer solo trips and fewer vehicles. No more sitting in traffic jams! Shared rides whisk us from home to wherever we need or want to go and back on highways with fewer cars. More of that electric power can go to other uses. Less and less of our time will be taken up with getting the car fixed and cleaned and worrying about a place to park. With more shared ridership, valuable street space can be better utilized for other purposes, whether it be more housing, protected bike lanes, wider sidewalks or green spaces.

6. automated vehicles for the public good

Vehicles are getting smarter and safer. Self-driving cars are likely to be prevalent on the streets within 10-15 years. These innovations offer opportunities for safer, less stressful travel. But they could also turn into even worse traffic congestion unless properly aligned with public transit. Self-driving technology is best utilized with shared rides and car sharing rather than individual ownership. They provide a wonderful opportunity for offering the first and last mile of on-demand service to fixed public transit at a fraction of the cost.

7. clean freight

We envision a lot more trains and fewer trucks. Heavy goods move between our towns and cities by rail. Electric vehicles shuttle them from the depot to where they’ll be sold or used. Delivery trucks within cities are all electric. Even longer range trucks and buses can become electric powered as technology advances.

8. more jobs

We envision lots of high-quality, living wage employment in transportation. Skilled jobs will include using high-tech communications to make all the rides available when and where we need them, and using high tech to set up and maintain convenient ways to pay for the use of roadways, public transit, and parking spaces. Other jobs will include handling and fixing the vehicles, constructing new buses, new rail lines and stations, and keeping travel safe.

Because some drivers’ jobs will be lost to automated vehicles, we support a just transition. We envision job training and placement of former drivers.

9. private and public partnerships

 Private innovation is welcome as part of the transportation system. With proper regulation and coordination, entrepreneurs can join in the transportation revolutions in electrification, automation, and ride sharing as long as they offer quality service that doesn’t undercut public transportation systems.

10. Simple democracy and planning for one integrated transportation system

 

We envision a seamless transportation system with easy, reliable connections through a coordinated regional system. The most cost effective means of achieving this is to consolidate transit systems even to the point of creating one regional transportation system. To ensure accountability and transparency it would have an elected board with representation from each of the 9 Bay Area Counties. Consolidation would avoid duplication and guarantee connectivity and universal access. Even the least populated areas would have some sort of transit option and the urban areas would not be clogged with suburban generated traffic.

READ MORE

How to Get Around on Public Transit

Better for the climate, safer and simpler for you

Transportation is the biggest source of climate-poisoning carbon dioxide in the Bay Area. Sharing rides means less of these pollutants in the air. Far fewer people are injured on public transit than while driving or riding in a car. And when the transit trip is over, there’s no need to park – just walk away.

Get a Clipper Card

 

Pay your fare with Clipper, the electronic token.

  • Cheaper and simpler than cash
  • Good for all Bay Area buses, light rail, trains and ferries
  • Available at transit stations and many stores, or online at clippercard.com

Tips for riding the bus

  • A good transit-riding outfit leaves your hands free. Stow the books, umbrella, packages etc in a shoulder bag, or a backpack you can unsling on one side when you step in.
  • Almost every stop has a sign telling the Stop ID, and a phone number to call to find out when the next bus is coming.
  • Wait where the driver can see you.
  • Touch your Clipper card to the card reader as you get on.
  • Senior and disabled riders up front.
  • Hold on if you stand.
  • Your stop? Pull the cord above the windows or press the red button near the back doors to ask the driver to stop the bus.

(How do you know when your stop is next? You can tell the driver where you want to get off, or use your cell phone app)

 

 

 

Try These Handy Transit Apps

 

  • Free
  • For laptops, iPhones or Android mobile phones
  • There are many more online

Wayfinders – How do I get there?

  • 511.org – Go to this site on your internet browser.
  • Google Maps – Your mobile may have come with it. If not, go on your browser to maps.google.com

Enter your starting address and destination, and select driving, transit, bicycling or walking. A list of routes appears, with an estimate of trip time and cost. A map shows your location, the route, and the destination. If you allow GPS tracking on your mobile, the app shows where you are, the route and destination throughout the trip.

Tracker – When will the bus really show up?

Swiftly is like 511 and Google maps, but uses GPS to locate the actual bus or train and estimate when it will arrive. (Google and 511 use the schedules.) It can suggest alternate routes, too.

Download Swiftly at www.goswift.ly/download/ on your mobile, then to swyftapp.com to select Muni, AC Transit, Caltrain etc. from the list.

 

about transportation network companies (TNC)

Lower-income communities often have fewer convenient options for transportation – fewer bus and train lines, less access to transit passes and higher fares when they pay cash.  As a result they wind up driving, in older cars that pollute more.  It adds up to one more difficulty in getting a good job.

MTC Considers Means-based Fare Proposal
Some transit agencies in the area have discounts for passengers with lower incomes, but most do not. And without any fare integration, low-income riders who travel across counties are still paying more, and long, inter-county commutes are increasing as the region’s housing crisis displaces lower-income people to more distant locations. Not only that, but omitting smaller operators in the North Bay and Contra Costa County is leaving out places with a growing number of low-income residents who have been displaced from homes closer to the region’s core. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission is thinking about recommending that more agencies provide more discounts. Read article.
by Adina Levin, Green Caltrain, January 2018


Transportation is a Major Hurdle to U.S. Employment

Urban-suburban sprawl and lack of US transportation infrastructure leave many workers in precarious situations… America’s highly segregated and car-dependent cities and counties make it difficult for many workers to reach the facilities where the jobs are. And the jobs are increasingly is the suburbs. This article contains further links to informative studies.
Pedro Nicolaci da Costa, Business Insider Jan. 27

Yes, TNC’s Decrease Transit, Riding, Walking

Riders are giving up public transit—not their cars—in favor of ride-hailing trips, according to a new report from a transit consultant who served as deputy commissioner for traffic and planning in New York City. Rider surveys show that “about 60 percent of TNC users in large, dense cities would have taken public transportation, walked, biked, or not made the trip if TNCs had not been available for the trip.” Read the article
By Adam Brinklow, Curbed SF, Jul 27, 2018

Read the report

Fewer Cars = Safer Streets

Cities with more public transit usage are safer, for both passengers and pedestrians

The 11 US cities where residents make over 40 transit trips per capita have lower traffic fatality rates. Since they adopted the Vision Zero improvement program, traffic deaths are down 28% in New York City and 41% in San Francisco. (The historically low numbers in the two cities look good even when you only count the drop in pedestrian mortality, too—with a decrease by 46 percent and 34 percent respectively.)
Andrew Small, CityLab, Sept. 11, 2018
Read the article

Free Transit

Should Transit Be Free?
This article reports on research about the effect on ridership of making transit free, and concludes that it isn’t always a good idea, and goes on to review other ways cities enhance and nourish their transit systems. A few tidbits:
In Dunkirk, population 100,000, ridership increased by 85% immediately after the introduction of fare-free transit. But in Tallinn, population 426,000, ridership has only increased by 3% in the five years since transit was made free….
Raising the cost of driving also has a tremendous effect on transit ridership. Public transit ridership went up by 18% in London after the city enacted a toll on drivers entering the center city. And across the US, the cost of parking in central business districts tracks well with transit ridership, suggesting more people are willing to take transit if the price of parking goes up. Read the article.
TransitCenter, Jan 28, 2019

Free transit in Paris?

The city is launching research into a plan that could set free the Metro, bus, and suburban rail system across a metropolitan area that’s home to over 11 million people, making the Paris region the largest free public transit zone in the world. Of course, all this hinges on the results of the study, which will be delivered at the end of the year. Read the article.
By Feargus O’Sullivan, CityLab, May 16, 2018

Fares account for only 17% of MUNI's budget.

Fares account for only 17% of MUNI’s budget.

Is this a good use of SF’s money?

Comment: With a total City Budget of $11 BILLION should be able to find $300 million for Fareless Muni

Comment: By and large, I don’t think money is the issue. Muni’s problems and solutions all boil down to giving Muni a greater share of the road. Dedicated and red-carpet lanes would increase bus and driver utilization (since they would not be as stuck in traffic), which would allow more and faster runs with the same equipment and personnel – and little or no increase in costs.

Comment: While I am not opposed to a free Muni, I have far higher priorities for Muni’s budget, and for the city’s budget. Off the top of my head:

  1. Either WiFi or signs in all the subway stations telling riders when connecting surface buses will arrive.
  2. More red carpet lanes.
  3. Dedicated lanes with physical barriers.
  4. Better Muni priority enforcement.
  5. Better light timing at multiple Muni lines, especially the N, and the T South of the ballpark.
  6. Cleanup and maintenance of the Muni parts of Muni / BART stations, especially brighter lights.
  7. Cleanup and maintenance of external Muni stations.
  8. Better park maintenance.
  9. More housing and transition services for homeless.
  10. Public toilets and associated cleaning.

Once all of these are paid for, free Muni would indeed be nice to have – and maybe the better vehicle and driver utilization some of these changes would allow could give Muni the capacity to handle the increased loads that may result.

Are there more and better ways to improve Muni?
Comment: In addition to agreeing with the above comments, I want to say: frequency, frequency, frequency. Providing more frequent service (which costs money) is a great way to alleviate other ills:

  1. less overcrowding
  2. less overcrowding means a faster, more reliable bus
  3. a missed run doesn’t impact riders as much
  4. a broken down bus doesn’t riders you as much
  5. an unreliable transfer doesn’t impact riders as much
  6. the bus is competitive with Uber
  7. more access for people with disabilities
  8. the impact of turn-backs [where the bus/train turns back before it goes to the end of the line] is less. Turn-backs are a great way to fix built-up service issues, but are unconscionable if that means people will have to wait 20 minutes for the next one.

Muni should hire more drivers (redundancy) than they need (to support missed runs) and should plan for significantly more service. In Zurich, peak frequency is 7 minutes and night frequency is 12 minutes. Muni has 20 minute evening frequencies, and even day-time frequency is 12 minutes (ideally, but in practice 15-20 minutes). No wonder it’s always overcrowded.

For Muni to be competitive with traffic and Uber, it just needs to provide more and more frequent service.

Comment: The notion that a bus should never be empty, else it’s a waste of tax dollars, is bunk. Other than subway systems, most of the world class surface transportation system are never packed to the gills as Muni. Muni reminds me of my childhood growing up in a poor country.

Instead of prioritizing free Muni generally, SFMTA should instead:

  1. Ensure there are easy ways for lower income individuals to travel freely or cheaply (social justice) and instead raise the fares for everyone else (potentially means-tested) to support increased service.
  2. Create deals or requirements with educational institutions, employers, apartment complexes to get group rates so that non-riders subsidize riders in the same group. It creates the same effect as Free Muni on those groups (no incremental cost of ridership).
  3. Create Free Muni for all children. This is already the case for lower income children, but I do think it’s worth removing the limits, for several reasons:
  • In the absence of a school bus system, this can be sponsored with school-related taxes.
  • It removes any excuse for parents to shuttle their kids to school with a car (“I have 5 kids”, etc.). While a single fare is always cheaper than cars/Uber, that’s not true for families. Free rides for kids means that public transit is competitive with cars/Uber, even for families.
  • The more kids riding Muni, the more security in numbers (e.g. children riding with their friends). That’s important in reducing the culture of driving kids to school.
  • It primes and educates kids to ride for life which is a good thing for future adult ridership.
  • It lets kids mingle with people of all socioeconomic classes, creating more empathy and opportunity later in life.
  • Children don’t earn income, so it is socially just to not charge them.
  • People are definitely more willing to pay taxes for the good of children.

At some point, perhaps all fares can be replaced with a progressive taxation system where we all pay a transportation tax dependent on our income (regardless whether we ride), but for that to succeed Muni needs to be a competent excellent system first, so that tax-payers feel their taxes are justified. It may also require >=50% (66% if Prop 13 applies) of the population to ride regularly, for this to be popular and sustainable (Muni ridership today is <30%).

Would it really help get more people onto transit?
While I have no philosophical objection to free Muni, fares are not the most important barrier to ridership: Uber is stealing potential transit riders. If increased taxes to provide free Muni is somehow more palatable than paying for increased service, then so be it, but otherwise it’s a misguided demand. In fact it may become a barrier to these other fixes, as there are usually limits to how much taxes can be raised.

How to Pay for Free Muni

One suggestion: charge for curbside parking spaces and use some of the money to provide free transit neighborhood people. https://www.sfchronicle.com/ opinion/openforum/article/How- to-improve-San-Francisco-one- parking-space-13149747.php? utm_campaign=email-premium& utm_source=CMS%20Sharing% 20Button&utm_medium=social

Comment: “First, we have to ask ourselves how come we give away so many very desirable parking spaces for almost nothing while we charge most people to ride Muni? Next we should ask, how is SFs ‘transit first’ policy served by reserving most neighborhood curb sides for parking only by neighborhood residents, who will get in their cars to get in the way of Muni buses? Shoup may be unrealistic to expect $250 a month for a curbside space. But consider: if about two thirds of the residential priority permits rented for $1,000 a year, then roughly 60,000 times $1,000 equals $60 million, not enough but a good start. Now, we can make permits available to anyone willing to pay and further we use a Shoup tactic of limiting the number of permits available in any neighborhood to 90% percent of the curb spaces, to make spaces really available and worth something. This should at least double the total curbside rent to $120 million a year.

For 2019, which predicts $208 million in fares, this would leave us about $88 million to fund in other ways. This starts to show that when you really implement ‘transit first’, Fareless Muni becomes very practical

LA Metro Head Supports Free Transit and Congestion Tolls

Metro CEO supports congestion pricing, free fares on public transit
By Elijah Chiland, Curbed LA, Dec 6, 2018
Several board members latched onto the idea, including Los Angeles City Councilmember Mike Bonin, who emphasized the potential environmental benefits of congestion pricing.
“We are committing suicide as a species through climate change,” said Bonin. “Anything we do to make driving cheaper and anything that we do to make transit more expensive gets us away from the big issue.”
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti also suggested the agency should consider the option. But he acknowledged that charging new fees on drivers in such a car-dependent city would be a political risk. “The moment you say something like congestion pricing,” he said, “there’s probably going to be nothing else in the headlines today.”

Some of the comment was favorable:
LA Times: Free public transit and roads without traffic? Sounds like a fairy tale, but LA can have both.

Some was not:
LA Daily News: Metro’s latest plan to get more of your money

Here is some background about the concept:
LA Post: Are traffic-clogged cities ready for congestion pricing?

Housing and Transit

Lack of housing options in the cities has been resulting in urban sprawl and forcing lower-income earners to commute further, often in higher-emission cars, to work in the cities.

One Thing Silicon Valley Can’t Seem to Fix
It seems obvious to build a large corporate office near a transit stop, but only 21 percent of Bay Area jobs are within a half-mile of a regional rail station. If you take San Francisco out of the equation, that percentage drops to 5 percent.
By Allison Arieff, New York Times Opinion, July 8, 2017

Changing the politics of housing in California
By Chris Elmendorf, Rick Frank and Darien Shanske, SF Chronicle, April 26, 2018
California is not going to achieve large-scale, high-density development near transit unless it can change the local politics of housing.

Bill for Housing near Transit in LA
Senator Ben Allen’s SB 961, which Move LA wrote and is sponsoring, would create “Neighborhood Infill Finance and Transit Improvement (NIFTI-2) Districts” around rail stations and along high-frequency bus corridors.
gloria ohland | 397mp
April 25, 2018

Parking Requirements and Housing: California’s Love of Cars Is Fueling Its Housing Crisis
This author cites a study showing that allowing housing with fewer parking spaces in LA did not discourage people from moving in (read the study). She says ride-sharing can help cities get rid of excess parking spots and build housing instead. Read the article.
By Virginia Postrel, Bloomberg Report, March 6, 2018

Mountain View planning commission considers more homes near jobs
The proposed residential/mixed area is less than 10 minutes from Mountain View Transit Center on VTA light rail, and a few minutes on light rail in the other direction to the major Moffett Park employment center, where Sunnyvale is also considering housing near jobs. Read article
By Adina Levin, Green Caltrain, February 20, 2018

State committee rejects bill to expand rent control options for California cities
The bill would have repealed the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which exempts newly housing constructed after 1995 from rent control laws and prevents cities from limiting a landlord’s ability to raise rents on a unit after a tenant moves out. Hundreds of residents from across California packed the Capitol building to speak for and against the measure—so many that the committee had to restrict public comment to a simple yes or no statement. Assemblymember Richard Bloom of Santa Monica, who authored the bill, told the committee that a repeal would not create “statewide rent control,” but would simply provide local governments with the power to make their own rules. Read article
By Elijah Chiland, Curbed LA, Jan 11, 2018

Google Expands Housing in Mountain View
Google is finally building some housing where it lives, instead of making all but its wealthiest employees commute all over the Bay Area.  The vice mayor is very cautiously not un-optimistic: “The hope is if we plan it right, we won’t see a significant increase, if any, in the number of cars on the road”.  Read the article.
Wendy Lee, SF Chronicle, December 13, 2017

Developers No Longer to “Mitigate” By Widening Roads
State agencies will now require developers to mitigate the environmental impact of increased Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) by actions like improving transit, creating better bike access, locating affordable housing near transit and limiting parking, instead of building wider roads. No longer will the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires let them measure environmental impacts by using Level of Service (LOS), which measures driving time, not distance. Development projects will have to account for the increased car travel they bring.

More struggle lies ahead. The Natural Resources Agency has 6 months to make the rules to back up the guidelines. They will need public pressure to keep the new guidelines from being watered down.
Melanie Curry explains the new measure’s impact in StreetsBlog Cal, Nov 28, 2017.  Read the article.

 

Car Efficiency Standards

California, Illinois among 17 states suing over EPA plan to scrap car emission standards
California and 16 other states sued the Trump administration over its plans to scrap standards on vehicle greenhouse gas emissions, which help set gas mileage rules. Read article
by Kathleen Ronayne, Chicago Tribune, May 1, 2018
Pruitt was Here in SF about Clean Air Standards 

“Pruitt also met with Mary Nichols, chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board, to talk about “cooperative federalism, car and truck greenhouse gas standards,” and the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.  Read the article

California and Auto Industry Agree on Vehicle Emissions Standards

Normally having the California Air Resources Board and the auto industry in agreement on emissions standards would be enough, but the Trump administration wants to ensure that California plays no role in setting standards.
“Maybe in the first time in recorded history, California and the auto industry are mostly in agreement that standards on the books actually should be on the books, and California should have a place in implementing those standards,” stated Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board.
“Her comments come as the White House’s Office of Management and Budgetis reviewing a proposal that would ease automobile efficiency standards, and people familiar with the matter have said it calls for revoking California’s unique authority to set its own limits,” reports Mark Chediak for Bloomberg News. Read the article.
By Irvin Dawid, Planetizen, June 11, 2018

EPA To Eliminate California’s Ability to Set Own Emissions Standards

In its pursuit of slacking fuel economy standards, the EPA has sent a proposal to the White House Office of Management and Budget seeking to hinder California’s ability to set its own greenhouse gas emissions standards. Read the article.
By Sebastien Bell, AutoGuide News Jun 01, 2018

“This proposal is an extraordinary repudiation of sensible climate policies, an assault on California’s environmental leadership, and another gift to the fossil fuel industry,” Ann Carlson, a University of California Los Angeles law professor, told Bloomberg. “There’s no question California, environmental groups and clean tech manufacturers will fight back in the courts.”
The White House, though, will vet the proposal, consulting with federal agencies, before unveiling the proposal in the coming weeks.

17 States Sue EPA Over Auto Emissions Standards Rollback

The states represent 44 percent of the U.S. population, from Maine to Iowa to California. Read the article.
Nicholas Kusnetz, Inside Climate News May 1, 2018

adapted from Environment America

adapted from Environment America

Hundreds of Clocks Sound Alarm on Ford’s “Collusion” With Trump as Pruitt Does Industry’s Bidding With Emissions Standards Rollback
by Andrea Germanos, Common Dreams
The creative action outside the motor company’s Washington D.C. headquarters was organized by Public Citizen, Greenpeace USA, and Safe Climate Campaign. It focused on Ford’s lobbying… Read article

 

A rogues’ roster: the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers

  • BMW Group
  • Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
  • Ford
  • GM
  • Jaguar/Land Rover
  • Mazda
  • Mercedes Benz
  • Mitsubishi Motors
  • Porsche
  • Toyota
  • Volkswagen
  • Volvo North America

They sent a letter to Pruitt asking for a rollback. Read article

Green groups sue Trump’s transportation agency for “an unlawful move that hurts efforts to fight global warming”
The Trump administration was sued on Thursday for indefinitely suspending increased penalties for auto manufacturers that develop new cars and trucks that don’t meet fuel-economy standards. The Center for Biological Diversity, joined by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club, filed a lawsuit in the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday to challenge the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s recent decision to suspend a 2016 rule that adjusted fines to account for inflation.
by Jessica Corbett, Common Dreams, Sept. 2017
Quietly, Trump Officials and California Seek a Deal on Car Emissions
People tried.  This article from April describes a possible deal that people hoped would keep the original fuel economy standards through 2025, by letting automakers use fat loopholes to meet those standards. In exchange, the Trump administration would commit to honoring California’s authority to set stricter standards – but only through 2030. ….
White House officials were said to be pushing the E.P.A. toward a compromise with California. Some automakers who lobbied for the rollback are taken aback by Pruitt’s overboard response  and the prospect of a battle with California that could throw the entire auto market into disarray.
By Hiroko Tabuchi, New York Times, April 5, 2018

Trump’s plan to roll back Obama’s fuel economy rules for cars, explained
These rules are hardly an ideal climate policy, since they only apply to new cars (not the millions already on the road), and since they’ve been undercut by cheap oil and the growing popularity of SUVs. But the standard is one of the few federal programs aimed at greening the US transportation sector, which accounts for one-third of carbon dioxide emissions.
By Brad Plumer, Vox, Mar 15, 2017

8 Things You Should Know
These articles explain the plan and all the steps it would have to go through including EPA, NHSTA and Transportation Dept. (and that’s before they get sued).

Effect on international standards
Check out the overview and a chart showing international standards and how the Obama /Ca standards are so important.

Lung Association Survey of Poll Results about Healthy Air

Opinions and Responses

San Diego Union-Tribune
If Trump’s EPA wants a war over California fuel economy standards, war it is

LA Times Editorial
Don’t let Trump and Pruitt Make America Smoggy Again

SF Chronicle
A shift into reverse on air pollution

East Bay Times and San Jose Mercury News
Car buyers should fight Trump fuel-efficiency rollback: Those who care about slowing global warming should vote with their pocketbooks.

Press Democrat
Allow California to keep tougher fuel standards

Sacramento Bee
Why roll back progress toward cleaner cars?

NY Times
Unclean at Any Speed: Pruitt’s Attack on Obama Auto Pollution Rule

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) weighed in.
“This is a politically motivated effort to weaken clean vehicle standards with no documentation, evidence or law to back up that decision. This is not a technical assessment, it is a move to demolish the nation’s clean car program. EPA’s action, if implemented, will worsen people’s health with degraded air quality and undermine regulatory certainty for automakers…”

Attorney General Becerra: EPA’s Assault on Federal Greenhouse Gas Emission Standards Will Trigger California’s Lawsuit If Needed

Electric Vehicles

Electric Vehicles: Why Don’t People Know?
Californians are not deciding they don’t want PEVs. Rather, they remain to a great extent unaware of PEVs and anything about them. The article includes suggestions for raising awareness.
By Justin Gerdes, GreenTech Media, Feb 26, 2018

Automakers and Policymakers May Be on a Path to Electric Vehicles; Consumers Aren’t
This is the study described in the article above.  According to the California Energy Commission, there were approximately 5,700 non-residential PEV chargers installed in California in August 2014; this more than doubled to over 11,500 by August 2017. By and large, Californians didn’t notice the increase in PEV charging infrastructure. Read the study.
By Ken Kurani and Scott Hardman, UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies

California governor pushes for 5 million zero-emission cars by 2030, needs legislative approval
Gov. Jerry Brown outlined a $2.5 billion plan Friday to help Californians buy electric vehicles and expand a network of charging stations as part of a goal of getting 5 million zero-emission cars on the road by 2030, up from his previous goal of selling 1.5 million by 2025.
It’s a nearly 15-fold increase over the 350,000 zero-emission vehicles already on California’s roads. Reaching the goal will require that 40 percent of vehicles sold in 2030 be clean, said Mary Nichols, chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board, up from about 5 percent now. Read article.
By Jonathan J. Cooper, Sacramento Bee, Jan 27, 2018

Traffic-Congestion Management
New York Had a Plan to Speed Up Buses. A Judge Just Blocked It
The city was ready to turn 14th Street into a transit corridor. Neighborhood groups sued to halt implementation at the last minute. Danny Pearlstein, a spokesman for the Riders Alliance, an advocacy group, criticized the decision to halt the transit corridor from going forward. Read article.
By Winnie Hu, New York Times, June 28, 2019

Getting cars and trucks out of busy downtowns is crucial to encouraging public transit, biking and walking. When they’ve got to drive, a congestion fee supports sharing the car. A number of cities worldwide are instituting or working on plans for this smart idea.
Let New York be the beginning of a congestion-pricing revolution
Local leaders in America are exploring the viability of congestion charges in their communities. Cities across the globe including London, Singapore, and Stockholm are already case studies in favor of congestion charges…..And in fact, the implementation of congestion charges generally garners bipartisan support, with conservative think tanks like the American Enterprise Institute echoing the sentiments of progressive leaders in cities like New York and Los Angeles. Read article
By Brooks Rainwater, Fast Company, April 1, 2019

Infographic
There’s no way to get it onto this page, but here’s a graphic that takes a close look at several congestion pricing case studies and the positive and negative impacts they have produced. View the graphic
By Liam Fisher
Congestion Pricing: N.Y. Embraced It. Will Other Clogged Cities Follow?

Los Angeles and San Francisco are already conducting studies to lay the groundwork for congestion pricing, and Seattle’s mayor, Jenny Durkan, is leading efforts to have congestion pricing in place by the end of her first term in 2021. Read the article.
by Winnie Hu, New York Times, April 1, 2019
HOV/ZEV Lanes and Equity

A downloadable report from TransForm that looks at examples from cities in North America and around the world that have implemented some form of road pricing. These international examples are especially relevant to North American cities, including New York, Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, all of which are exploring downtown congestion pricing. “If equity concerns and deep community engagement help shape road pricing and associated investment strategies, they can lead to faster and more frequent public transit, safer pedestrian and bicycle routes, and improved mobility and health outcomes for vulnerable communities.” Read the summary and download the report.
Report by Stuart Cohen and Alan Hoffman
Singapore

The City That Led The Way
Ten years ago, Singapore adopted Electronic Road Pricing based on a pay-as-you-use principle. Drivers insert a card into a reader on the dashboard that receives short-wave radio signals from units at congested spots. They are charged when they use priced roads during peak hours. ERP rates vary depending on traffic conditions. Results indicate that drivers change their mode of transport, travel route or time of travel. This article gives an overview.
Stockholm

They Voted for a Congestion Charge
The Stockholm congestion charge was first introduced as a trial in 2006, then in a referendum the residents voted to keep it. This system uses an on-board electronic tag that is loaned to drivers. Roadside cameras back up the system and cover tagless cars by recording license plate images. Hybrid and electric vehicles go free. Read article
Milan

An Automotive City Elects Clean Air
Third among large European cities in its atmospheric concentrations of particulate matter, Milan has also one of the highest rates of car ownership in the world. It had one advantage: in 2011 almost 80 per cent of voters said they approved more restrictions on driving to achieve a better quality of life in the city. Their program is still popular and has significantly reduced climate-damaging emissions. Read article
By Caterina Di Bartolo, Eltis, 08 Apr 2015

The Road to Milan’s Solution
This informative graphic review might make you seasick, but it covers the basics and says the program has decreased CO2 emissions by 35%.
By Isabella Valencia & Elisa Arango
New York

New York State Budget Deal Brings Congestion Pricing, Plastic Bag Ban and Mansion Tax
The congestion pricing deal deferred many of the difficult decisions — how much to charge drivers and who will receive exemptions — to the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority and a new traffic mobility review board. Eighty percent of the revenue will be directed to the subway and bus network, and 10 percent each to the Long Island Rail Road and the Metro-North Railroad. The agreement also calls for an overhaul of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the agency that oversees New York City’s bus and subway system. Read article
By Jesse McKinley and Vivian Wang, New York Times, March 31, 2019
More on the NYC plan

Driving a Car in Manhattan Could Cost $11.52 Under Congestion Plan
This is just a proposal, so far, but similar traffic charges are already used in cities like Singapore, Stockholm, London and Milan. New York has rejected or ignored versions of them dating to at least the 1970s. The newest plan embraces the twin goals of easing Manhattan’s choking traffic while raising badly needed revenue for the city’s failing subways and buses.
Trucks would pay $25.34, and taxis and for-hire vehicles could see surcharges of $2 to $5 per ride. The pricing zone would cover Manhattan south of 60th Street. In a key change from past efforts, drivers would not have to pay if they entered Manhattan by all but two of the city-owned East River bridges, which are now free to cross, as long as they bypassed the congestion zone. Read article
By Jim Dwyer & Winnie Hu, New York Times, Jan 18, 2018

For Congestion Pricing Plan, New Support and Steadfast Critics
Supporters of congestion pricing include even Uber, the ride-hailing company whose ubiquitous black cars have filled city streets. It plans a major campaign to promote congestion pricing, beginning on Wednesday with a “six-figure” run of television ads followed by other outreach such as radio ads, mailings and phone calls.
Critics of the plan included three Queens officials — an Assemblyman, City Councilman and the Queens borough president — who appeared at a news conference to pre-emptively oppose tolls on the East River bridges. Read article
By Winnie Hu, New York Times, Dec. 29, 2017

Congestion Pricing in NYC Would Not Burden Working Poor – Analysis
A recent report by the Community Service Society, challenged the idea that a congestion fee would disproportionately affect the poor. The report found that just 118,000 commuters, or about 4 percent of working residents from the boroughs outside Manhattan, could be subject to a congestion fee. Of those, only 5,000 (less than 0.1% of outside residents) would be living in poverty. Far more workers, including the poor, rely on public transit.
Summary and downloadable PDF report
San Francisco

A Plan Is Required
The SF Transportation Authority is required by state law to develop and adopt a Congestion Management Program to monitor transportation and adopt plans for mitigating traffic congestion in the city. Read about the program to develop a plan.

SF Study Finds Peak Fee The Most Effective Strategy
SF Transportation Authority’s study in 2016 found that parking pricing strategies would reduce drive-alone trips modestly but concluded that cordon-pricing (a peak fee for crossing into a cordoned area) would be more effective in reducing vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and shifting drivers to other modes. This is largely because a parking based approach would not affect pass-through trips. A coordinated effort between congestion management and parking pricing and supply strategies will help the City meet its livability goals by reducing drive-alone trips and by making more efficient use of street resources. San Francisco Parking Supply and Utilization Study Summary Report

SF Congestion Data Widget
SFCTA’s online tool shows performance metrics for cars and buses on major San Francisco streets and highways. These are monitored every two years, in accordance with state law for San Francisco’s Congestion Management Program. Try it.

CARB Action?

The CA Air Resources Board makes plans to cut transportation emissions and controls some state funding. What have they done for the climate lately? (The proposed 2918-9 state budget is over $130 billion.)
California Air Resources Board approves $663 million plan for clean cars, trucks, buses – a major increase for trucks, freight projects
While diesel trucks account for only 2 percent of vehicles in the state, they emit the majority of the smog-forming pollution, and two-thirds of all diesel soot. In 1998, California identified diesel particulate matter as a toxic air contaminant based on its potential to cause cancer, premature death, and other health problems. There are now more than 20 manufacturers offering 60 eligible models of hybrid, low-NOx, and zero-emission trucks and buses. Read article.
By Abhilasha Fullonton, California Carbon.info, December 15, 2017

New CARB website showcases $680 million investment in zero-emission transportation
From cap-and-trade investments, to date, more than $600 million have helped deliver approximately 115,000 zero-emission and plug in cars; 46 heavy duty zero-emission trucks; 950 zero-emission delivery, utility and refuse trucks; 407 zero-emission transit buses, shuttles and light rail cars; and 29 electric school buses in California. Read article.
By Ronjoy Bezbarua, California Carbon.info, May 19, 2017

Human-Powered Transportation

One way to cut the carbon footprint and boost public health is to get more people biking and walking.  Read about how this is working out here and around the world.

Photo: Carlos Felipe Pardo

Photo: Carlos Felipe Pardo

‘For me, this is paradise’: life in the Spanish city that banned cars
The mayor’s philosophy is simple: owning a car doesn’t give you the right to occupy the public space. So they got rid of them. Read how.
by Stephen Burgen, The Guardian, Sept 18, 2018

What would a truly walkable city look like?
Planners and activists working toward a walkable London, Phoenix, Aukland, Denver and more. Read article
by Laura Laker, The Guardian, Sept. 8, 2018

France wants to triple bike use with better cycle lanes
Unlike most other French policy issues, bike lane construction is not a national but a local responsibility, with the result that French bike lanes tend to run for short stretches and rarely connect to other lanes. The government will launch fund to invest 350 million euros ($410 million) in cycling infrastructure the next seven years. Read article
By Geert De Clercq, Reuters, Sept 14, 2018

Sustainable mobility and citizen engagement: Korea shows the way
How Suwon went from car-dominated to a busing, biking, walking city. Read article.
by Julie Babinard Transport for Development, 03/12/2018


Transport As a Service: It Starts with a Single App
(excerpt) The Economist, Sep 29, 2016

Get the Traveler Seamlessly from Door to Door
Helsinki residents can travel quickly door-to-door within the city by using an app that mixes and matches a variety of public and private means of transport. MaaS Global (short for Mobility as a Service) is the startup behind the smartphone app, Whim, that finds the best way to get from A to B by combining public transport and a variety of options from participating private firms. Whim is now available in Helsinki. [It is live and also available in the UK, according to the MaaS Global website]

If there is no obvious route, a scheme like Whim’s might suggest a bicycle from the city’s bike-share scheme (if one is close to your front door), followed by a train and then a taxi; an on-demand bus (“hail” it on the app and it will come and pick you up); or a one-way car-share to a tram and a rented “e-bike” with a small electric motor to alleviate the strain of pedaling for the final leg. Once a route has been chosen it will make any bookings needed, as well as ensuring that hire vehicles are available and public-transport sections are running on time. Costs will be displayed for every option, making clear the trade-offs between speed, comfort and price. Customers will be able to buy one-off journeys or “bundles” modeled on mobile-phone contracts, allowing a certain amount of travel each month.

Many countries have websites that give information on how to reach a destination by bus or train, both within cities and between them; in some places Google’s online maps have transport information built in. Buying tickets online is now common; Trainline, an online booking system for rail tickets, is rolling out across Europe.  But after getting advice on their routes, travelers have always had to find their own way to a bus stop or train station, or call a cab. Payment and booking systems have generally been separate for each leg of a journey, and the “last mile” between mass transit and final destination has not been covered at all. Services such as Whim aim to change all this: removing the guesswork, combining the various options in the most efficient and cost-effective ways, and getting the traveller seamlessly from door to door.

Without such new thinking, cities will grind towards gridlock. In 2007 half the world’s population lived in cities; by 2050 it is expected that two-thirds will. According to Arthur D. Little, a consultancy, urban journeys already account for nearly two-thirds of all distance travelled by people. On current trends urban distance travelled each year will have trebled by 2050, and the average time urban drivers spend languishing in traffic jams is set to double to 106 hours a year.

The traditional policy responses to congestion—-build more roads and expand public transport—-are too expensive for these cash-strapped times. Hence the appeal to urban planners of the idea of travelers combining existing mass-transit schemes with a growing variety of private services. It offers a way to attract private capital into “public” transport. By enabling a closer link between supply and demand it will make mass transport more efficient. Congestion at peak hours will fall as travelers are diverted from crowded routes to less-packed ones; varying prices by time of day could help here, too.

Public-health experts are also keen on the new approach. The apps through which the various options are accessed could be tweaked to encourage healthier choices, such as walking or cycling, if desired. Emissions of pollutants should also fall, because fewer vehicles would be idling in jams and there would be fewer cars on the street. Helsinki thinks it can make its center free of cars by 2025—not by banning them, but by building a transport system that renders them redundant.

As well as commuters’ lives, cities will be transformed, too. With fewer cars and parking spaces needed, they can be redesigned to be more pedestrian-friendly and to have more green spaces. Quicker journeys will increase the catchment area for job-seekers prepared to travel to work.

Won’t the arrival of self-driving cars render such thinking unnecessary? Not quickly, and even then, not really. Affordable driverless cars that can handle both city driving and motorways safely are a long way off. And even after they arrive, mass transit systems will often remain the best way to move large numbers of people swiftly. If all of the 1.3m daily commuters into central London switched to autonomous vehicles, it would become a giant parking lot. The better integrated a city’s transport system, the less demand there will be for driverless cars, and the easier those cars will be to combine with the other options.

The New Transportation

The new approach to transport as a service relies on two interconnected trends. The first is the spread of smartphones, which both generate the data required to manage a system that combines a wide variety of public and private transport options, and allow firms to offer the information via an app. They have already made navigating a city by public transport much easier. “Intelligent” journey planners, which use live information about congestion, disruption from accidents and the like to suggest the best route, are proliferating. Around 70% of Londoners regularly use an app such as Transport for London’s journey planner. Live travel information shows whether trains and buses are running on time.

The second is the rise of the “sharing economy”, with businesses such as Airbnb making it possible to rent fixed assets such as apartments when they are not being used. Young urbanites, who have become accustomed to usership instead of ownership, find the notion of transport as a service both natural and appealing. Meanwhile the cost of running a car in a city goes ever upwards. Parking gets harder. Many city-dwellers are questioning whether the convenience is worth it. Between 1983 and 2014 the share of Americans aged 20-24 with a driving license fell from 92% to 77%.
Ride-hailing services are the most obvious response to these two trends. Since Uber turned the ignition switch in 2008 it has expanded to operate in 500 cities around the world. Competitors such as Lyft, which also uses an app to match riders with drivers and to handle payments, are growing rapidly, too. Didi Chuxing, China’s biggest e-taxi service, has 300m users in 400 cities and towns.

Uber and Lyft essentially provide a new way of calling a cab. But both firms also offer ride-share services that promise to make journeys cheaper and only slightly less convenient. UberPool, Lyft Line and specialist ride-share companies such as Via, which operates in Chicago, New York, and Washington DC, put passengers going in the same direction together in shared cars and lets them split the bill.

Passengers are being pooled in larger vehicles, too. Firms such as Bridj are using the wealth of data they collect from users’ smartphones to model travel patterns, and thus to run on-demand minibuses in several American cities, including Boston, Kansas City, and Washington DC. Book a ride and the app will show pick-up and drop-off points close to your origin and destination, any walking required and the fare. “It’s the bus that catches you,” says the firm’s founder, Matthew George. At $2-6 a trip it is not much pricier than a regular bus, but a comfortable seat is guaranteed.

Ford is testing an on-demand shuttle bus around its vast plant at Dearborn, near Detroit. Several universities around the world run similar services for students around campuses. Plenty of firms now have pools of shared company vehicles available on demand, instead of giving one to every eligible employee.

Self-driving is not out of the picture entirely. Car-sharing schemes, which offer most of the benefits of owning a car, but at much lower cost, are revving up. Some allow cars to be rented by the hour or even minute. Vehicles may have to be returned to the point of hire; or schemes may allow one-way trips between designated parking spots. Boston Consulting Group reckons that the 5.8m people now signed up to car-sharing schemes worldwide could grow to 35m in the next five years.

These firms expand the traditional car-rental business by allowing shorter rental periods and more convenient pick-up and drop-off. Peer-to-peer schemes such as Getaround and Turo in America, and CarUnity in Germany, take car-sharing one stage further. These enable owners to rent out their cars for short periods, thus sweating assets that would otherwise sit at the curb for as much as 95% of the time. Services that fill empty seats in cars and split the cost of gasoline by connecting drivers with prospective passengers are also growing fast. The biggest by some way is BlaBlaCar, a French firm with operations in more than 20 countries. It mainly connects big cities rather than operating within them, taking a fee for matching passengers and drivers going the same way.

Baby, you can drive my car

Other niche services are springing up. In America Carpool Kids and Voom are among a band of new services that let parents connect and share rides. Zum, in San Francisco, is aiming to co-ordinate transport for children and child care such as babysitting in a single, on-demand system.

The various permutations of car-sharing, car-pooling and ride-hailing pose a big threat to vehicle manufacturers’ sales. Some are rattled enough to get in on the act. The global car market is worth $2.3 trillion a year, of which Ford gets 6%, says Mark Fields, the firm’s boss. The market for transport services is $5.4 trillion a year, he estimates, of which it gets near to nothing.

That is starting to change. Many carmakers already manufacture small electric vehicles that would suit a sharing scheme as they are easy to maintain and can be charged when they are parked, saving users the need to stop and pay for fuel. Some are planning powered scooters and electric micro-cars, which could also be used as shared vehicles for short urban trips. And most are busily reinventing themselves as mobility providers. In January GM announced it was investing $500m in Lyft to help it understand new transport models. In May Volkswagen put $300m into Gett, an Israeli rival to Uber; Toyota invested an undisclosed sum in Uber around the same time.

Some carmakers have launched services of their own. Daimler has started a car-sharing service, car2go, which offers point-to-point rentals charged by the minute, hour or day. Users arrange, via an app, to pick a car up where a previous customer left it. Ford’s GoDrive, which operates in parts of London, also offers rental by the minute, as does DriveNow, a competitor, which is owned by BMW and Sixt, a car-hire firm.

Get on the bus

The next step is to combine these disparate experiments. Helsinki is not the only place seeking to integrate public and private transport, and do better at getting passengers from A to B. Switzerland’s national rail company has teamed up with car- and bike-sharing firms. Several Canadian cities have a scheme incorporating public transport, bike-sharing, taxis and Communauto, a car-sharing service; Brussels runs a similar scheme. But these only provide discounts for combined subscriptions and some limited integration of booking, though not payments.

In Hanover, Germany’s 13th-largest city, Hannovermobil goes a bit further by charging users for their month’s travel in a single monthly bill. Moovel, owned by Daimler, operates a countrywide service in Germany that also knits different transport together—but booking and ticketing are still handled separately. Joint Venture in Silicon Valley is experimenting with integrating shuttle buses with other mobility apps that whisk users from door to door. After a successful pilot in Gothenburg, UbiGo will launch in Sweden this year, combining public and private transport.

Herculean Whim
But truly turning transport into a service, as Helsinki is aiming to do, is a Herculean task. It not only means integrating the booking, payment and operating systems of dozens of transport providers. It also means persuading private firms to take part in the first place. Public-transport operators can be forced to do so by national or municipal authorities. But private operators may balk at sharing data and real-time information on customers with a third party, even if they are promised confidentiality. And why would a ride-sharing or taxi firm want to sign up to a scheme that may direct customers to its rivals?

In Helsinki, Sampo Hietanen, the boss of MaaS Global, has two answers. First, as the use of private cars declines many more people will use the firm’s app (and its competitors’), so taking part will mean getting access to an ever-growing pool of customers. Second, any firm that does not join will be left behind. And though the contractual negotiations are proving tricky, to some amazement nearly all Helsinki’s transport operators—even taxi drivers—seem willing to give it a go.

Finland’s sense of shared national endeavor probably helps. More important is the determination of the municipal and national governments. Indeed, without city authorities’ active encouragement mobility as a service will not take off, says Catherine Kargas of Marcon, a Canadian consulting firm.

Finland’s national government is doing its bit by rewriting legislation to bring the various laws covering different modes of transport into harmony. The transport minister, Anne Berner, cites regulations that treat hire vehicles with fewer than seven seats as taxis, whereas minibuses are covered by the same laws as full-sized buses. Entirely separate laws cover vehicles that shift parcels and vehicles that shift people. That places an unnecessary obstacle in the way of any firm that might like to do both.

Putting an independent tech firm like MaaS Global rather than an existing transport operator in charge of the app has some big advantages. A tech firm may be more innovative and more willing to take risks than a big incumbent. The likes of Deutsche Bahn, which already has a system to integrate trains and car-sharing, might still be slow to let innovators break in, reckons Mr Hietanen. Independent operators would be happy to offer a large ready-made market of travelers to any firm able to extend its range of offerings, and might be more willing to support small firms with new ideas.

Mr Hietanen certainly has big plans. The Whim app includes pay-as-you-go “multi-modal” packages that bundle monthly travel requirements at a single price. For perhaps €95 ($106) a month it might offer free city-wide public transport, 100km of local taxi use, 500km of car rental and 1,500km on national public transport. He thinks that aiming mobility services at city-dwellers is too limited, and wants to integrate regional and national trains—as well as rural services, where on-demand buses and ride-sharing could prove handier than scheduled buses, which often travel half-empty.

Other mobility evangelists go further. Some are eyeing big cities in the developing world, even though these rarely have good public-transport networks. Could the 50,000 minibuses and 150,000 taxis in Mexico City, for example, be better deployed as part of a system that encouraged ride-sharing and on-demand re-routing? Others talk of interoperability across borders; a few even suggest roping in airlines. Who knows: one day a wily entrepreneur may add an on-demand mobile pub.

Transport Equity

Lower-income communities often have fewer convenient options for transportation – fewer bus and train lines, less access to transit passes and higher fares when they pay cash.  As a result they wind up driving, in older cars that pollute more.  It adds up to one more difficulty in getting a good job.

MTC Considers Means-based Fare Proposal
Some transit agencies in the area have discounts for passengers with lower incomes, but most do not. And without any fare integration, low-income riders who travel across counties are still paying more, and long, inter-county commutes are increasing as the region’s housing crisis displaces lower-income people to more distant locations. Not only that, but omitting smaller operators in the North Bay and Contra Costa County is leaving out places with a growing number of low-income residents who have been displaced from homes closer to the region’s core. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission is thinking about recommending that more agencies provide more discounts. Read article.
by Adina Levin, Green Caltrain, January 2018


Transportation is a Major Hurdle to U.S. Employment

Urban-suburban sprawl and lack of US transportation infrastructure leave many workers in precarious situations… America’s highly segregated and car-dependent cities and counties make it difficult for many workers to reach the facilities where the jobs are. And the jobs are increasingly is the suburbs. This article contains further links to informative studies.
Pedro Nicolaci da Costa, Business Insider Jan. 27

Housing and Transit

Lack of housing options in the cities has been resulting in urban sprawl and forcing lower-income earners to commute further, often in higher-emission cars, to work in the cities.

Parking Requirements and Housing: California’s Love of Cars Is Fueling Its Housing Crisis
This author cites a study showing that allowing housing with fewer parking spaces in LA did not discourage people from moving in (read the study). She says ride-sharing can help cities get rid of excess parking spots and build housing instead. Read the article.
By Virginia Postrel, Bloomberg Report, March 6, 2018

Mountain View planning commission considers more homes near jobs
The proposed residential/mixed area is less than 10 minutes from Mountain View Transit Center on VTA light rail, and a few minutes on light rail in the other direction to the major Moffett Park employment center, where Sunnyvale is also considering housing near jobs. Read article
By Adina Levin, Green Caltrain, February 20, 2018

State committee rejects bill to expand rent control options for California cities
The bill would have repealed the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which exempts newly housing constructed after 1995 from rent control laws and prevents cities from limiting a landlord’s ability to raise rents on a unit after a tenant moves out. Hundreds of residents from across California packed the Capitol building to speak for and against the measure—so many that the committee had to restrict public comment to a simple yes or no statement. Assemblymember Richard Bloom of Santa Monica, who authored the bill, told the committee that a repeal would not create “statewide rent control,” but would simply provide local governments with the power to make their own rules. Read article
By Elijah Chiland, Curbed LA, Jan 11, 2018

Google Expands Housing in Mountain View
Google is finally building some housing where it lives, instead of making all but its wealthiest employees commute all over the Bay Area.  The vice mayor is very cautiously not un-optimistic: “The hope is if we plan it right, we won’t see a significant increase, if any, in the number of cars on the road”.  Read the article.
Wendy Lee, SF Chronicle, December 13, 2017

Developers No Longer to “Mitigate” By Widening Roads
State agencies will now require developers to mitigate the environmental impact of increased Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) by actions like improving transit, creating better bike access, locating affordable housing near transit and limiting parking, instead of building wider roads. No longer will the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires let them measure environmental impacts by using Level of Service (LOS), which measures driving time, not distance. Development projects will have to account for the increased car travel they bring.

More struggle lies ahead. The Natural Resources Agency has 6 months to make the rules to back up the guidelines. They will need public pressure to keep the new guidelines from being watered down.
Melanie Curry explains the new measure’s impact in StreetsBlog Cal, Nov 28, 2017.  Read the article.

Climate Initiatives

We advocate for a number of climate-related initiatives, like parking policies that discourage single-occupancy vehicles, pay-as-you-go car insurance, traffic management for lower emissions, car sharing, and public education campaigns.

Electrify Autos and Trucks

Fossil-fuel burning cars are the most profitable for the giant companies that sell cars and fossil fuels.  They put a lot of pressure on politicians to regulate against climate-friendlier alternatives, and advertising into making gasoline cars the favorite transportation choice. Education programs let people know things like the massive carbon emissions from gas cars and trucks in the Bay Area, how to get an affordable electric car, why ride-sharing is important and how to get you your destination on public transportation.

Parking policies that discourage single-occupancy vehicles

Fewer parking places along busy downtown streets will reduce congestion and encourage people to use public transportation or carpools, walk or bike where feasible.  The extra lane can be used for speedy bus service.

Housing developments should include fewer parking spaces per household in urban areas, and developers must pay for the increased public transportation that residents will need.

Congestion pricing charges drivers who are on the road at rush hour, usually by a computer system that charges their account, like FastTrak.  This also encourages commuters to double up, bus up, or bike if they can.

Traffic management for lower emissions

Instead of paving over more and more land to widen roads for solo driving, we can manage traffic to encourage vehicle sharing  and electric vehicles.  Tolls can increase during rush hour, and can be adjusted to give lower-emission and higher-occupancy vehicles a break, with public transit vehicles free.

 

Car sharing assistance

 

Public websites and programs help match drivers and riders for commutes and for the gaps between the last transit stop and the home or workplace.  Political support helps keep these sites funded, especially when they serve the underserved.

 

Pay-as-you-go car insurance

 

Drivers who pay less for lower mileage have a built-in incentive to use their cars less.

Transit, Bikes, And Pedestrians

We can build our cities to be pedestrian, bicycle, and transit-friendly. This means concentrating new development close to BART and other transit lines. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) has a plan that calls for 80% of all new development to be built in Priority Development Areas (PDAs).  The California Air Resources Board scoping plan calls for quadrupling the proportion of trips taken by foot and increasing bicycle trips by nine times by 2030 (p102). Many cities in the Bay Area have Climate Action Plans that call for up to 80% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050. These plans will only be implemented if activists demand policies and regulations to make them happen. That is the role of 350 Bay Area’s Transportation campaign–to be a voice that will relentlessly demand carbon-free transportation.

Cleaner Vehicles

We need to eliminate Internal Combustion Engine vehicles by 2040 to reduce climate chaos.  Electric vehicles are here now, they are affordable, and we need to make sure that everyone who buys a car goes electric.  Trucks, buses, and trains can also be electric.  And airplanes can fly on renewable biofuels, unless we can develop fuel cells or electric models.

Our campaign plans to push agencies, for example to get the California Air Resources Board to expand its Zero Emissions Vehicle program.  We want to work with allies such as the Golden Gate Electric Vehicle Association, Plug-in America and the Sierra Club, all of which advocate for electrification of transportation.

The transportation blog

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