Denver is one of the fastest growing cities in the country and rapidly changing as a result. What this change looks like will largely depend on policy.

Massachusetts continues to experience a slow slide in car commuting, and an increase in the importance of transit and active transportation – driven in part by economic and population growth in the region’s core and, relatedly, by shifting patterns of commuting among younger residents.

Earthquakes are becoming a great risk to the people of Oklahoma, Texas and Ohio, and evidence points to the disposal of fracking wastewater.

The history of urban policy over the last century suggests that the words we use to describe our city neighborhoods matter – a lot.

Amtrak’s loan backlash shows that a certain transportation funding argument is alive and well – and it’s one we’ve been refuting for a long time. It goes like this: If transit projects don’t sustain themselves financially, or even turn a profit, we shouldn’t support them with taxpayer dollars. 

After a summer of apartment hunting, I have acquired both a place to live for the next year and a persisting habit of browsing housing websites when bored. Amidst all the numbers you might expect to see on a real estate listing – square footage, cost, walkability, etc. – I recently noticed a new one: the Sun Number, a rating from zero to 100 of a house’s solar energy potential. By educating prospective homeowners about the value of installing rooftop solar panels, the Sun Number could be an effective tool for increasing the production of clean, renewable energy.

The need to revisit old assumptions in transportation planning, and to bring a clear-eyed sense of priorities and fresh perspective to transportation policy is as urgent today as it has ever been – regardless of month-to-month or year-to-year fluctuations of VMT. 

Empathy for the plight of those who drive cannot be an excuse for failing, through appropriate public policy, to try to get the balance of responsibility right.

If we reach lightbulb saturation – meaning, every home has long-lasting lightbulbs installed – it will be hard for lightbulb companies to sell the same quantity of products they do today. So some are designing LED lightbulbs purposefully designed to burn out sooner, or lights that require frequent upgrades or replacements to function properly. 

Cheap gas, readily available financing, low interest rates, increasing employment and rising wages have continued to fuel car sales. Now, however, auto industry observers are signaling that the party may be over.

While researching and writing Natural Gas and Global Warming: A Review of the Evidence Finds that Methane Leaks Undercut the Climate Benefits of Gas, I read stacks of research papers on the climate impacts of natural gas. Parsing these academic studies is an acquired skill and I thought I’d share some of what I learned about how to read methane research for anybody who is just diving into this topic.

Trying to answer the question "If you are so worried about global warming, why are you opposed to fracking to increase natural gas production?" led us to research our recent report Natural Gas and Global Warming.

In recent months, utilities have worked to put in place a policy that could slow the growth of rooftop solar: high residential demand charges. An electric bill with a large demand charge can limit the cost savings of solar energy because just one interval of high peak demand – at night or on a cloudy day – can result in charges that undercut the financial benefits of generating solar power over the course of an entire month.

Today we released Lighting the Way 4, our fourth annual installment of reports on the states with the most solar energy, and the public policies that have helped them get there. Once again, the evidence is clear: The states with the most solar capacity aren’t necessarily those with the most sunshine – they are the states that have adopted policies to make it easy and affordable for people, businesses and utilities to “go solar.”

Now is the time for states like Pennsylvania to set in place strong bonding requirements to ensure that money is available for environmental cleanup and the health of people living in the shadow of fracking are not put at risk – regardless of how financially sick drilling firms may be.

The ITF study gives us a detailed picture of the heaven that might be if we were to embrace a new transportation paradigm less dependent on personal car ownership.

Consumers who buy an EV instead of a gas-powered vehicle should not only recoup fuel costs over the lifetime of their vehicle, they should expect to see cost savings of thousands of dollars. And those savings will take place whether gas prices stay abnormally low, or go up over time.

The very people who have the most to gain from bigger or better highways – heavy drivers – are also those with the most to lose from increasing the gas tax that pays for those improvements. The result is that heavy drivers have a strong incentive as political actors to get someone – anyone – else to pay for the roads.

Transportation just became the leading source of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States. But until recently, some of the biggest sources of transportation emissions – medium- and heavy-duty trucks like tractor trailers and big pick-ups – faced few requirements to reduce their pollution impacts.

For operators like Range Resources, which operates more than 1,000 wells in Pennsylvania, the blanket bonding requirement equates to roughly $600 per well.


Subscribe to Blog