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: CoPIRG Foundation'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 CoPIRG Foundation is hard at work already. 

Check out our video showcasing our work to bring about better transportation options for America's future.


Issue updates

Report | CoPIRG Foundation | Budget, Tax, Transportation

Do Roads Pay for Themselves?

Highways do not – and, except for brief periods in our nation’s history, never have – paid for themselves through the taxes that highway advocates label “user fees.” Yet highway advocates continue to suggest they do in an attempt to secure preferential access to scarce public resources and to shape how those resources are spent.

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Report | CoPIRG Foundation | Transportation

Transportation Freedom Day 2010

To highlight the differences in transportation costs per city, CoPIRG released data from the Center of Neighborhood Technology that calculated each city’s Transportation Freedom Day - the date in which a typical household has earned enough to cover its annual transportation costs. That day tends to arrive earlier for residents of cities with more car-alternatives to getting around.

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News Release | CoPIRG Foundation | Transportation

“Transportation Freedom Day” Highlights Transportation Costs for Residents

Over the next few weeks, residents in the Denver metro area will be able to celebrate Transportation Freedom Day, the date in which a typical household has earned enough to cover its annual transportation costs. For residents in some cities like Englewood, Aurora and Littleton, that day will come earlier than many of their neighbors in Brighton, Parker and Evergreen.

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Report | CoPIRG Foundation | Transportation

Colorado's Transportation Crossroads

Colorado’s transportation network does a poor job of meeting the needs of the state’s residents.  Expanding public transportation can provide more Coloradans with alternatives to driving, while laying the foundation for an efficient transportation system for the 21st century.

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News Release | CoPIRG Foundation

CoPIRG Foundation staff gathered at an overlook of the dirty-air shrouded Denver skyline to highlight to the Colorado congressional delegation the urgency of going big on climate change and tackling the unhealthy ozone alert days millions of Coloradans have been exposed to this summer.

Blog Post

I spoke with leaders in Lone Tree, Englewood, Centennial, Morrison, Nederland, the City of Boulder, Boulder County, Arapahoe County, Northglenn and Denver about the Safer Main Streets projects in their areas. Here's what they said about how this refreshing CDOT program will impact the streets that run through the hearts of our communities.

News Release | CoPIRG

The Denver Metro and North Front Range areas missed another key deadline on Tuesday to meet ozone pollution air quality standards set by the federal government.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gave the Denver Metro and the North Front Range (DMNFR) a deadline until July 20, 2021 to meet a 2008 standard. These areas were already considered in “Serious” nonattainment for exceeding the pollution standards. Ozone pollution data from the Colorado Air Pollution Control Division indicate that the DMNFR exceeded ozone levels at multiple monitors between 2018 and 2020.   

Blog Post

Early Wednesday evening, Colorado’s utility regulator gave a greenlight to our largest utility’s Transportation Electrification Plan, a proposal to invest millions in electric vehicle infrastructure. As we wait for the details, one thing is clear - this is one of the biggest actions taken this year in Colorado to tackle climate change and it will bring big consumer benefits for years to come.

Blog Post

On September 18th, 2015, the world learned VW had misled hundreds of thousands of people into buying dirty, diesel vehicles designed to avoid emissions standards. Five years later, we looked back at our campaign to hold VW accountable and highlighted how tens of millions of dollars from a legal settlement and a customer “buy back” program has helped Coloradans head toward a cleaner, electric-powered future.

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CoPIRG Foundation is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to social change.