Washington DC is considered the nation’s Greenest City based on a list from the Citizens’ Climate Lobby. Mayors in several cities have included a resolution in their budgets to make their transportation infrastructure more efficient and green. While cycling to work, a walking commute, or a public transit ride are great ways to save money, their advantages come at a price. With far more trips than walkable neighborhoods and a society unwilling to modify to effectively accommodate new forms of transportation, we still create much of our local transportation infrastructure via cars. By 2050, the United Nations estimates that one third of our urban population will live in cities. With continued growth and the surge in the density that comes with it, you can expect more metropolitan areas will look to this approach.
Since the beginning of this year we’ve seen in Baltimore one of our Nation’s first to implement a Bus Rapid Transit system. In a pilot project, the Baltimore-Washington and Washington-Adams Morgan corridors have seen their BRT projects build to the current speed limit of 60 miles per hour. In addition to installing express lanes which cut transit times, we have seen the Washington-area receive $1.8 billion to reduce carbon emissions by converting toll roads to for-rent and for-sale cars with the potential of reducing fuel consumption and congestion for motorists. Several counties in our region have already doubled their fuel efficiency standards for their fleet of vehicles and several small towns have already seen high-speed carpool lanes built across the county. In Harford County there is legislation to use local taxes to convert existing grade separations to active traffic lanes for buses, and Carroll County plans to implement a similar plan. When it comes to alternative forms of transportation, we’re moving in the right direction in a manner that will certainly lead to more congestion- free driving.