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

A New Course

Universities and colleges across the country are taking steps to encourage their communities, students, faculty and staff to decrease their reliance on personal vehicles. These efforts are working well – saving money for universities, improving the quality of life in college towns, and giving today’s students experience in living life without depending on a personal car.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

New Report: University Campuses Are Transportation Trailblazers as Students Lead Shift From Driving

As Millennials lead a national shift away from driving, higher education institutions like Arizona State University and the University of Arizona are giving students new options for getting around and becoming innovators in transportation policy.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

New "Urban Streets" Guide Could Help Arizona Become More Walkable, Livable

In Phoenix the National Association of City Transportation Officials unveiled its new Urban Street Design Guide, a handbook that can help Arizona’s cities make their streets better for people and business.  The guide recommends that cities treat streets as public spaces for people of all ages and abilities and design streets to accommodate pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit users in addition to motorists.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

New Study Finds Technology Enabling People to Drive Less

In a first-of-its-kind study, the Arizona PIRG Education Fund compiled evidence on transportation apps and vehicle sharing programs and found that these advanced new tools have made it easier for Arizonans to drive less.

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Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

A New Way to Go

Over the last 15 years, the Internet and mobile communications technologies have transformed the way Americans live and work. During that same period, growth in vehicle travel slowed and then stopped, with Americans today driving about as much on average as we did in 1996.

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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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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Options Exist for Funding Expansion of Light Rail

The Arizona PIRG Education Fund released a report outlining funding options that transportation officials can explore to expand the light rail system in the Phoenix metro area.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Maricopa Association of Governments Urged to Adopt Safeguards for Privatization Deals

The Arizona PIRG Education Fund provided the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) Transportation Policy Committee with privatization principles to protect the public interest in these deals as MAG entered into a policy discussion about public/private partnerships in the region.

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Blog Post

From mask mandates to capacity limits, the largest public transit systems and ride share companies have new procedures

Blog Post

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released new guidelines for businesses and employers in responding to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Many of the recommendations are sensible: regular temperature and health checks, enhanced cleaning, staggered schedules and employee distancing, and greater use of video and teleconferencing instead of in person meetings. But when it came to “employees who commute to work using public transportation or ride sharing,” the CDC’s recommendation made less sense. It said the following: “Offer employees incentives to use forms of transportation that minimize close contact with others, such as offering reimbursement for parking or single-occupancy ride shares.”

Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund
News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund

A new report card from the Arizona PIRG Education Fund issued Arizona a failing grade for missing the opportunity to kick-start electric transportation and infrastructure through its use of funds from Volkswagen’s nearly $3 billion settlement.

News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund

According to the Arizona PIRG Education Fund, Americans stand to breathe more polluted air as a result of a rollback announced today by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration. EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler proposed to roll back the “Clean Car” fuel economy standards which, if left in place, would eliminate more than two billion metric tons of emissions. The proposal would also deny states the right to create their own more efficient fuel standards.

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Arizona PIRG Education Fund is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to social change.