Here’s the op-ed section from our latest Express, our twice-monthly newsletter that serves up the best Mobility Lab content. Subscribe here! (And if twice-monthly isn’t enough, subscribe to our Daily newsletter.)
Sometimes it feels like public transportation in the United States is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Our built environment is sprawling, which makes providing frequent transit service difficult, and we lack funding and political will to increase service in any meaningful way.
Americans think about transportation all wrong. We think about the mode first – not which mode is the best way to achieve our goals.
If our societal goals are to improve public health, lower carbon emissions, and make sure that everybody has access to affordable and convenient transportation, then we should choose modes that best accomplish these objectives. The modes that do this are public and active transportation.
Our writer Owain James perfectly captures this idea in a recent article. For too long, we’ve blindly accepted the doctrine that cars – and driving alone – are the best mode for all situations, be it a rural community or a congested city. But instead of building light-rail lines aimlessly, we should determine our goals first. We should let goals lead the way.
Photo of Washington, DC’s NoMa Metro station by Abe Landes for Mobility Lab.