21st Century Transportation

Efficient public transportation systems like intercity rail and clean bus systems would make America’s transportation future better for everyone by reducing traffic congestion and pollution, and increasing our options for getting around.

Public transit, biking and walking for the future

Changing Transportation: Arizona PIRG Education Fund's series of reports on the dramatic changes underway in how Americans travel.

Americans are increasingly looking for more and better options to get around — options like expanded public transit, better biking alternatives, walkable neighborhoods and high-performance intercity trains. But while our transportation preferences are changing, too often our transportation policies are stuck in the past. 

Our work has helped to educate the public about the changing ways we get around and the need for policy reform to respond to and encourage further transformation. Our nation’s highway-focused transportation system leaves too many communities isolated from opportunity, creates too much pollution, causes health problems, and does a poor job of getting Americans where they want to go. While Americans increasingly want to live in communities with other ways to travel, our vision for a national transportation system is largely stuck in the 1950s. Instead of simply lurching from one funding crisis to the next, our nation needs to make smart choices that will prepare us for the 21st century. These include a forward-looking 21st century transportation system that serves more places, is more reliable, creates less pollution and reduces global warming emissions.

Some communities across the country are responding, implementing a vision for transportation that includes things like bridges designed for walkers, bikers, trains and streetcars, but not automobiles; bus stations that are also digital hot spots; smart traffic lights that communicate with cars, and other innovative solutions.

Through a series of well researched and eye opening reports, public outreach, and work with local coalitions and public officials, we've pushed for more forward-looking reforms. We’ve turned the tide against wasteful highway expansion boondoggles. We've encouraged Departments of Transportation to recognize and plan for a shift toward more balanced travel choices. We’ve demonstrated the enormous benefits that have been gained so far with reductions in the nation’s volume of driving. There’s much work ahead to promote new planning and policy approaches that accomplish these goals and Arizona PIRG Education Fund is hard at work already. 

Check out our video showcasing our work to bring about better transportation options for America's future.


Issue updates

Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Moving Off the Road

After sixty years of almost constant increases in the annual number of miles Americans drive, since 2004 Americans have decreased their driving per-capita for eight years in a row. This report for the first time presents government data on state-by-state driving trends. It analyzes which states drive more miles per-person, which states have reduced their driving the most since the end of the national Driving Boom, and how state changes in driving behavior correspond to other changes such as growing unemployment or urbanization.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

New Report: Reduction in Driving Likely to Continue

As the average number of miles driven by Americans heads into its eighth year of decline, a new report from the Arizona PIRG Education Fund finds that the slowdown in driving is likely to continue. The report, A New Direction: Our Changing Relationship with Driving and the Implications for America’s Future, noted that demographic changes will likely keep driving down for decades.

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Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

A New Direction

The Driving Boom—a six decade-long period of steady increases in per-capita driving in the United States—is over. Americans drive fewer total miles today than we did eight years ago, and fewer per person than we did at the end of Bill Clinton’s first term. The unique combina­tion of conditions that fueled the Driving Boom no longer exists. Meanwhile, a new generation—the Mil­lennials—is demanding a new American Dream less dependent on driving.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Flagstaff Transit Highlighted in New National Report

A new report by Reconnecting America highlights Flagstaff as one of 14 midsize cities in the country setting an example for the next generation of transit projects. Transit advocates celebrated the inclusion of Flagstaff’s Mountain Link bus rapid transit in the report.

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Blog Post | Transportation

A Trillion Fewer Driving Miles? | Jason Donofrio

It’s now common knowledge that annual changes in the volume of driving no longer follow the old ways. In July 2012, Americans clocked over 258 billion miles behind the wheel, a billion fewer miles than the previous July despite a slightly stronger economy and cheaper gasoline.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Obama Budget Seeks Major Boost in Transportation Investment

Statement of Serena Unrein, Public Interest Advocate for the Arizona PIRG Education Fund, on the Obama administration’s FY 2012 transportation budget proposal, which includes a major increase in transportation funding and an $8 billion annual investment in high-speed rail.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Bold New Federal High-Speed Rail Plan Can Bring Benefits to Arizona

Statement of Serena Unrein, Public Interest Advocate for the Arizona PIRG Education Fund, on Vice President Joseph Biden and Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood’s announcement that the administration plans to invest $53 billion over the next six years in high-speed rail.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Myth Busted: Road Costs in Arizona Not Covered by Gas Taxes

The Arizona PIRG Education Fund's new report, Do Roads Pay for Themselves? Setting the Record Straight on Transportation Funding, disproves the common misperception that road-building in Arizona and across the country is paid for by user fees. The report shows that gas taxes cover barely half the costs of building and maintaining roads, a fraction which is likely to fall steadily.

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Media Hit | Transportation

Arizona Daily Star: Report supports a speedy Phoenix- to-Tucson rail line

A high-speed rail line between Phoenix and Tucson would create jobs and relieve traffic congestion, a new study contends.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

High-Speed Rail Can Boost Economy, Bring Jobs to Arizona

Drawing lessons from other countries, a new study from the Arizona PIRG Education Fund shows that high-speed rail can boost our economy, bring jobs to our state, save energy, curb pollution and provide a popular alternative to Arizona’s congested roads.

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Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

A Better Way to Go

America’s automobile-centered transportation system was a key component of the nation’s economic prosperity during the 20th century. But our transportation system is increasingly out of step with the challenges of the 21st century.

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