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

High-Speed Rail: Public, Private or Both?

Private sector companies are likely to play a major role in the construction of high-speed rail lines in the United States. Public-private partnerships – or “PPPs” – have come to play an important role in the construction of high-speed rail lines around the world. The experience with high-speed rail PPPs, however, has been mixed.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

New Report Assesses the Potential of Rail Public-Private Partnerships

A first-of-its-kind report released today examines whether high-speed rail should be public, private or both. The report released by the Arizona PIRG Education Fund examines the experience with public-private partnerships for high-speed rail in the U.S. and other countries.  In addition to outlining the promise and pitfalls, the report recommends ten principles to protect taxpayers and the public interest under private financing deals.

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Media Hit | Transportation

Public News Service: Older Arizonans Face Future of Limited Mobility

More than half of the growing senior population in Arizona cities will soon have little or no access to public transportation, according to a new study. With baby boomers reaching retirement age and eventually giving up driving, the problem is expected to worsen.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Arizona’s Seniors Will Face Poor Mobility Options

By 2015, at least 56 percent of Phoenix-area residents ages 65 and older will live in communities where public transportation service is poor or non-existent, a new study shows. That number is expected to continue to grow rapidly as the baby boom generation “ages in place” in suburbs and exurbs with few mobility options for those who do not drive.

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Media Hit | Transportation

Guest Commentary: Arizona needs a 21st century public transportation system

For the first time, Arizona's State Transportation Board approved a state rail plan which includes connecting the major metropolitan areas of Phoenix and Tucson by passenger rail. In a state known for its reliance on single-occupant vehicles and its lack of good public transportation, this is a crucial step forward for providing Arizonans with better transportation options.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Study Shows Signs for Caution on Private Roads

A new report released today identifies problems in a national trend toward private toll roads. The study Public Roads, Private Costs: The Facts About Toll Road Privatization and How to Protect the Public examines 15 completed private road projects and 79 others that are proposed or underway.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

New Report Highlights Arizona's 21st Century Transportation Needs

Citing a surge of support for public transportation in Arizona, a new report by the Arizona PIRG Education Fund, Arizona’s New Frontier: Moving Our Transportation System into the 21st Century lists a selection of light rail, heavy rail, bus and other projects needed to keep Arizona moving.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

New Study: Red Flags in State's Transportation Stimulus Wish List

A new study of the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) wish list, recently submitted to Congress for funding under a new economic recovery package, suggests that Arizona’s current project list would undermine efforts to modernize our deteriorating infrastructure and reduce U.S. dependence on oil.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Plan For Economic Prosperity Through Transportation Announced

Today, on the heels of the Wall Street bailout and hours before the final presidential debate, local mayors and public interest leaders joined together to call on the next President and Congress to strengthen our local and national economies by building a 21st Century transportation system.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Report Demonstrates Need For More And Better Public Transportation

Today the Arizona PIRG Education Fund released its new report, A Better Way to Go: Meeting America’s 21st Century Transportation Challenges with Modern Public Transit, which examines the challenges faced by America’s transportation system and the benefits of existing public transit projects in Arizona and across the country.

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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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