13 Big Ideas to Improve Transportation in Your City - Politico

June 21, 2019

If you could do anything to improve transportation in your city, what would it be? Here are a few ideas you gave us, selected from 250 reader submissions.

 

Cities across the country are coming up with innovative solutions to improve transportation. Seattle invested heavily in public transit, and it paid off: The city managed to grow its population and decrease its car traffic at the same time. New York will achieve a historic first by becoming the first American city to implement congestion pricing — charging vehicles to drive into the busiest parts of the city. San Francisco is going as far as to close off part of one of its busiest streets to traffic completely.

 

In our first What Works package of 2019 we detailed some big changes that are already in the works. But how else can cities make transportation better? More than 250 POLITICO readers dreamed big and shared their ideas on how they'd improve transportation if anything were possible. Here's 13 of those ideas, lightly edited and condensed for clarity. 

 

Increase opportunities for telecommuting

"Create incentives for companies to give employees the option to work from home. The incentives can be in the form of tax breaks to those companies. Less people on the road means less traffic." 
— Meghan Rose Hargreaves, technical writer, Hollywood, Fla.

 

Experiment with banning cars from the busiest parts of the city
"I would like to see Open Streets days where the downtown is mostly shut off to cars, every Saturday and Sunday. Open Streets allows people to see their city in a way they may have never previously considered, which over time makes many more people open to using transit or bicycles." 
— Christopher Gillespie, marketing manager at CMG Financial, Philadelphia

 

... or charge drivers to go there
"For years, cities and states have tried to build their way out of congestion by adding more lanes of road, but the more road space that is added, the more cars fill the available space. To tackle this issue at its core, we would implement broad-based road pricing in places with viable transit alternatives by charging a fee for all vehicles. When all car users pay a price for their travel, people are incentivized to share space more efficiently." 
— Brenden Dooley, senior policy associate at Uber, Washington, D.C. 

 

… or just ban cars outright
"Ban all private cars from the city. Allow businesses to apply for permits (with an annual fee) for delivery vehicles, etc., but otherwise city streets should be reserved for public transit like buses, and green transportation like bikes, scooters and pedestrians. 
— Charles Whitfield, software engineer, San Francisco

 

Build a hyperloop
"The last major push we had in the U.S. was the interstate in 1956. The idea that what worked in the ’50s will solve the problems of today is absurd. A hyperloop can reach speeds up to 670 mph, carry 16,000 passengers per hour in each direction and connect distant cities in the same way that intracity metros connect neighborhoods." 
— Jay Walder, CEO of Virgin Hyperloop One, Los Angeles

 

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