Urban heat islands are a health risk for vulnerable populations, cause people to run air conditioners more (driving up electricity bills and global warming pollution), and accelerate the formation of ground-level ozone that triggers breathing problems. To combat the urban heat island effect, cities are pursuing a variety of strategies, including planting more trees, replacing roofs with more reflective material or even vegetation, and using different pavement that reflects more heat. Los Angeles, for example, just released its sustainability plan that includes the goal of reducing its urban-rural heat difference by 1.7 degrees in 2025 and 3.0 degrees in 2035. Part of the way the city intends to achieve this goal is by planting trees, installing 10,000 cool roofs by 2017, testing cooler pavements, and removing hard surfaces where possible. Los Angeles and other cities should pursue an additional strategy: replacing conventional gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles with electric vehicles.

If you don’t eat meat or work on a farm, are the dangerous resistant bacteria that develop in livestock a threat to your health?

Before we decide to raise, or not raise, the MBTA’s fares, it is important that we understand how much we have already raised them.

How often do you buy a new car? Not too often, I bet, and therein lies a major challenge to cutting carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles. Even though new cars, SUVs and light trucks are, on average, less polluting, it takes a long time for older vehicles to be retired and replaced with more efficient ones. And unlike houses, which can be renovated with insulation, weather sealing and more efficient appliances to reduce energy use and emissions, there’s no way to renovate cars to use less fuel and produce less global warming pollution. But that might be about to change, at least in a small way.

Allowing consumers to post their complaint narratives online is just the latest example of the CFPB’s leadership in protecting Americans from unscrupulous financial services firms.

When compared fairly and accurately on most measures, the MBTA often falls in the middle of the pack among U.S. transit agencies. It neither excels in measures of cost-effectiveness or efficiency across the board, nor does it consistently lag behind. 

Which U.S. cities are leading the charge toward a solar-powered future? Our new report, Shining Cities: Harnessing the Benefits of Solar Energy in America, ranks U.S. cities for thier installed solar PV capacity and discusses the innovative policies that are moving cities up in the rankings.

The discussion around the safety of GM foods is too often centered on one part of the process: eating them. However, when evaluating whether GM foods are safe for us and for the environment, we must also consider the broader effects.

If one is going to claim that a transit agency is the fastest-growing in the nation, one must look at the entire system it operates, not just pieces of it.

When one makes fair, apples-to-apples comparisons of the MBTA’s service growth and spending patterns with those of other large transit agencies, the T appears to be quite normal.

Two major train spills in the last month – one in West Virginia, one in Illinois – have reinforced what has now become abundantly clear: Transporting large amounts of oil by rail endangers the health and safety of our communities and our environment.

Back in January when I wrote a Lay of the Land blog post on fracking, one of the upcoming important policy events I flagged was release of recommendations by Colorado’s oil and gas task force. The commission released its recommendations last week, but failed to resolve the key issues that had precipitated the commission’s formation.

Shared-use mobility options have the potential to transform the United States’ transportation landscape for the better.


When one looks at other forms of rail service, the agency has not only not grown, but has been blown out of the water by other cities that see the benefits transit has brought to places like Boston and want a piece of it for themselves.

Antibiotic resistance poses a serious threat to human health, and the public needs to know if, and to what extent, important antibiotics are being misused.

As cities across the country wrestle to reconcile increasing demand for transit services with budget challenges, optimizing transit service can be a key tool for squeezing maximum value out of every available transportation dollar. Data-powered evaluations offer the potential of making those decisions easier and provide better outcomes.

Rising demand on the system is the flip side of “lack of investment” in understanding this winter’s MBTApocalypse.

America failed to build functioning 20th century rail and transit systems during the actual 20th century.

See how your city ranked in the Innovative Transportation Index.

Find out how your city ranked! And click here for shareable graphics you can use to tell all your friends about how great your favorite city is.

Technology has enabled the creation of new transportation tools that, while useful individually, combine to become more than the sum of their parts. They augment existing transportation systems, strengthening and linking together the existing transportation fabric of American cities, making it possible for more Americans to live full and engaged lives without owning a car.


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