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

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

Consumer Group to ADOT: Arizonans Need Passenger Rail

As the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) takes public comment on a proposed passenger rail line connecting Phoenix and Tucson, the Arizona PIRG Education Fund, a statewide consumer group, urged ADOT to continue moving forward with the rail plans and provided the agency with a set of recommendations for the rail line.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Phoenix-Tucson Rail Creates Jobs, Save Millions

A new report released today by the Arizona PIRG Education Fund highlighted the benefits of connecting Phoenix and Tucson with passenger rail. The report, Connecting Phoenix and Tucson: The Benefits of Intercity Rail in the Sun Corridor, estimates that the economic benefits of intercity rail include: expanding labor market access for businesses, creating at least 30,000 job-years of employment, boosting local economies, and ensuring that the Phoenix-Tucson area remains attractive to young people, who increasingly prefer alternatives to driving.

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Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Connecting Phoenix and Tucson

Over the past few decades, explosive population growth in Phoenix and Tucson has led the two cities to grow increasingly interconnected, socially and economically. It has also resulted in increasing traffic congestion problems, particularly on Interstate 10, which connects the two cities. With this growth expected to continue in years to come, Arizonans face a pressing need for improved transportation options. Passenger rail between Phoenix and Tucson can help meet the future transportation needs of the Sun Corridor.

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Media Hit | Transportation

Arizona Public Media: Arizonans Driving Less, Despite Population Gains

Americans are driving less for the first time since World War II, according to a new study from the Arizona PIRG Education Fund. In 2007, Arizonans drove more than 62 billion miles. Despite an increase in the state’s population, that figure decreased by almost three billion miles in 2010.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Transit Service Cuts to Impact Valley Residents

Today marks the beginning of cuts to transit service in the Phoenix metropolitan area.  Light rail service will be less frequent during peak hours and peak hours are being reduced by two hours each day.  Bus routes also are being affected – some routes will have less frequent service and some are being eliminated altogether.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Maricopa County Leaders Urged to Include More Transit in Plans

The Arizona PIRG Education Fund and the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) filed joint comments on the most recent Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) transportation plans.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Misplaced Highway Spending to Blame for Crumbling Roads and Bridges

According to Road Work Ahead: Holding Government Accountable for Fixing America’s Crumbling Roads and Bridges, a new report by the Arizona PIRG Education Fund, across the nation, drivers face more than 90,000 miles of crumbling highways and more than 70,000 decaying bridges.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Business Interviews Highlight Benefits of Light Rail

An Arizona PIRG Education Fund report, The Businesses of Light Rail: a Compilation of Local Business Interviews, highlights economic and other benefits that light rail has provided for local businesses.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Arizona’s “Transportation Freedom Days” are Here

This month, many Arizonans will start to celebrate their Transportation Freedom Days, the dates by which a typical household in a particular area has earned enough to cover its annual transportation costs.

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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.

News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund

Highway projects are notorious for wasting taxpayer dollars. Now, a new report by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group identifies nine wasteful highway expansion projects across the country, slated collectively to cost at least $30 billion.

Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund

America’s infrastructure is in rough shape. Many of our roads, bridges and transit systems are aging and in need of repair.

Yet, year after year, state and local governments propose billions of dollars’ worth of new and expanded highways that often do little to reduce congestion or address real transportation challenges, while diverting scarce funding from infrastructure repairs and 21st century transportation priorities. 

Blog Post

While we appreciate that Governor Ducey’s plan dedicates the majority of the VW Settlement Funds to replacing dirty, old school buses, the plan can and should be improved. Read our suggestions.

Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund

Buses play a key role in in our nation’s transportation system, carrying millions of children daily to and from school and moving millions of Americans each day around our cities. Buses reduce the number of individual cars on our roads, make our communities more livable and sustainable, and provide transportation options for people of all ages and abilities.

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