Urban transport is the single largest source of transportation-related emissions, and growing. Thoughtful urban design of mass transit can enhance the livability and sustainability of cities. At the heart of mass transit effectiveness is emissions reduction; whenever someone uses mass transit instead of an automobile, emissions are reduced. The benefits of these reductions accrue not just to the riders, but to their fellow residents as well through relief of traffic congestion, reduced car accidents, lower air pollution, and mobility for lower income residents. Project Drawdown ranks using mass transit as the 37th best solution for reducing carbon emissions.
The stories in this collection (see below) present several innovations in making mass transit more attractive and effective. In Helsinki, Finland, a smartphone app called Whim plans the quickest travel options by drawing on all forms of transportation, from bus to bike to borrowed car. Dunkirk, France offers a completely free bus system that has increased ridership between 65 and 80 percent. Oakland, California’s Fruitvale Transit Village is demonstrating the viability of transit-oriented development. In Medellin, Colombia, the resurgence of an old technology—cable cars—is knitting neighborhoods together, reducing crime, and building community. This solution is one of the Drawdown Ecochallenge actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and is featured in the Campus Ecochallenge.
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