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: Ohio 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 Ohio 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

All Americans Deserve Clean Air to Breathe, On Earth Day and Every Day | Sean Doyle

U.S. DOT asks if we should measure global warming pollution from transportation.

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News Release | U.S.PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection, Make VW Pay, Transportation

Framework for VW Settlement Announced

Statement by Mike Litt, Consumer Program Advocate at U.S. PIRG Education Fund, on todays announced VW settlement. For more details on what a strong settlement agreement ought to look like, please see the open letter that we released earlier this week with other consumer and environmental groups.

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Blog Post | Transportation

Owning Fewer Cars Isn’t Just For Millennials | Sean Doyle

New transportation options are making it easier for people to use transit more, own fewer cars, and even save money on transportation.

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Media Hit | Transportation

12 of America's Biggest Highway Boondoggles

Given that expanding highways at great public cost doesn’t improve rush-hour traffic, there are better ways to spend this money, argue report authors Jeff Inglis of Frontier Group and John C. Olivieri of U.S. PIRG. They identify a dozen road projects, costing $24 billion in all, that are “representative” of the problem.

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News Release | Ohio PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Portsmouth Bypass Makes National List of Highway Boondoggles, Wastes $429 Million

The new study details how despite America’s massive repair and maintenance backlog, and in defiance of America’s changing transportation needs, state governments across the country, including Ohio, continue to spend billions each year on new and wider highways.

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Media Hit | Transportation

Possible lease of Ohio Turnpike raises questions for taxpayers, consumer group says

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A statewide consumer group questions whether a possible lease of the Ohio Turnpike is a good deal for taxpayers.

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Media Hit | Transportation

Advocacy Group Warns Against Turnpike Privatization

An Ohio advocacy group is asking whether privatization of the Ohio Turnpike is the best option for taxpayers, warning that it could end up costing travelers and the state too much money.

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Media Hit | Transportation

Future of Ohio Turnpike Troubles Consumer Group

A consumer-advocacy group concerned about the potential privatization of the Ohio Turnpike wants Gov. John Kasich’s administration to answer a series of questions before making such a decision.

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Media Hit | Transportation

State Weighs Options with Turnpike Lease Deal

As the state nears the end of a study into how it can wring billions out of the Ohio Turnpike, a consumer advocacy group Thursday questioned whether such a deal makes sense and how it might be structured.

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News Release | Ohio PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

As Ohio Awaits Study of Turnpike Future, Consumer Group Outlines Need for Answers

With the state-commissioned KPMG report on the Ohio Turnpike due any day, a new report by consumer watchdog organization Ohio Public Interest Research Group (Ohio PIRG) released today confirms that privatizing would not create new value but would merely borrow against future toll revenue.

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Report | Ohio PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

A New Direction

The Driving Boom – a six decade-long period of steady increases in per-capita driving in the United States – is over.

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Report | Ohio PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Eight Questions about the Future of the Ohio Turnpike

The State of Ohio recently spent $2.85 million to commission KPMG to analyze different possibilities for borrowing against future toll revenue to the Ohio Turnpike, including privatization. Will the study fairly portray the state’s options with the downsides and upsides? Here the Ohio PIRG Education Fund presents the eight questions Ohioans most need to ask.

 

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Report | Ohio PIRG | Transportation

Do Roads Pay for Themselves?

Highway advocates often claim that roads “pay for themselves,” with gasoline taxes and other charges to motorists covering—or nearly covering—the full cost of highway construction and maintenance, but they are wrong. 

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Report | Ohio PIRG | Transportation

A Track Record of Success

As America moves toward construction of new high-speed rail networks in regions throughout the country, we have much to learn from experiences abroad. High-speed rail lines have operated for more than 45 years in Japan and for three decades in Europe, providing a wealth of information about what the United States can expect from high-speed rail and how we can receive the greatest possible benefits from our investment. 

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Report | U.S. PIRG | Transportation

Connecting the Midwest

Intercity passenger rail in the Midwest can be part of the solution. The Midwestern states have put forward a bold vision for efficient, rapid passenger rail service linking the entire region. The federal government is allocating more than $2.7 billion in funds from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act to bring that vision closer to reality with rail projects in six Midwestern states. 

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Report | Ohio PIRG Education Fund

Highway Boondoggles 5 finds nine new budget-eating highway projects slated to cost a total of $25 billion that will harm communities and the environment, while likely failing to achieve meaningful transportation goals

News Release | Ohio PIRG Education Fund

Highway projects are notorious for wasting taxpayer dollars. In the fifth edition of their Highway Boondoggles report, Ohio PIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group identify nine new wasteful highway expansion projects across the country, slated to cost at least $25 billion collectively. Over five editions of the report, the groups have profiled 50 boondoggles.

Report | Ohio PIRG Education Fund

Every state, with the exception of Florida, has now published its plan to spend the money being received as part of the Volkswagen emissions violations settlement. This scorecard grades each state’s plan on how well it is designed to take full advantage of the opportunity to invest in transportation electrification.

News Release | Ohio PIRG Education Fund

When it comes to clean transportation, most U.S. states are underutilizing funds from Volkswagen’s nearly $3 billion settlement with federal authorities, according to a new report from Ohio PIRG Education Fund and Environment Ohio Research & Policy Center.

News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

Three years after candidates from both parties made infrastructure a key presidential campaign issue, it’s finally the long-awaited “infrastructure week.” Democratic congressional leaders and the White House announced two weeks ago that they would commit $2 trillion to the cause. But a new report from U.S. PIRG Education Fund, Environment America Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group cautions that before allocating that money, our elected officials need to determine which investments will alleviate the most dire problems America faces as a result of crumbling or outdated infrastructure -- climate change, pollution and threats to public safety.

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