Reports on Transportation

The reports below represent a sample of Frontier Group’s work on Transportation. For more of our reports on this and related topics, please visit Full archive coming soon.

A New Way Forward: Envisioning a Transportation System without Carbon Pollution

New technologies, new tools and emerging social trends make it easier than ever before to envision how America might transform its transportation system to one with little to no impact on the climate. With America facing an urgent imperative to eliminate carbon pollution to meet the terms of the Paris climate agreement, now is the time for action. Our report, A New Way Forward: Envisioning a Transportation System without Carbon Pollution, makes the case that America has the tools and strategies it needs to eliminate carbon pollution from urban, light-duty transportation by 2050.

(May 2016)
Highway Boondoggles 2: More Wasted Money and America’s Transportation Future

America faces a long-term transportation funding crisis. Our roads, bridges and transit systems are falling into disrepair. Demand is growing for public transit and safe bicycle and pedestrian routes. Traditional sources of transportation revenue, especially the gas tax, are not keeping pace with the needs. Even with the recent passage of a five-year federal transportation bill, the future of transportation funding remains uncertain. Highway Boondoggles 2: More Wasted Money and America’s Transportation Future studies 12 proposed highway projects across the country – slated to cost at least $24 billion – that exemplify the need for a fresh approach to transportation spending.

(January 2016)
Who Pays for Roads?: How the "Users Pay" Myth Gets in the Way of Solving America's Transportation Problems

Many Americans believe that drivers pay the full cost of the roads they use through gas taxes and other user fees. That has never been the case, and it is less true today than ever. Increasingly, American taxpayers are bearing more of the burden of paying for building, maintaining and operating our roads, regardless of how much they drive. Who Pays for Roads? exposes how long-running myths about how America pays for transportation continue to distort transportation policy, and argues for thorough reform of how the United States raises and spends transportation funds.

(May 2015)
The Innovative Transportation Index: The Cities Where New Technologies and Tools Can Reduce Your Need to Own a Car

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.




Rapid technological advances have enabled the creation of new transportation tools that make it possible for more Americans to live full and engaged lives without owning a car. Many of these new tools have been in existence for less than a decade – some for less than five years – but they have spread rapidly to cities across the United States.


This report reviews the availability of 11 technology-enabled transportation services – including online ridesourcing, carsharing, ridesharing, taxi hailing, static and real-time transit information, multi-modal apps, and virtual transit ticketing – in 70 U.S. cities. It finds that residents of 19 cities, with a combined population of nearly 28 million people, have access to eight or more of these services, with other cities catching up rapidly.

(February 2015)
Subsidizing Congestion: The Multibillion-Dollar Tax Subsidy that's Making Your Commute Worse

Federal tax subsidies for commuter parking add 820,000 cars to the roads - often during rush hour in America's biggest, most congested cities - at a cost to taxpayers of $7.3 billion per year, according to Subsidizing Congestion, a report issued by the civic philanthropy TransitCenter and Frontier Group. The report finds that the tax benefit for commuter transit use - while beneficial - only weakly counteracts the negative effects of the parking subsidy. The report calls for detailed evaluation of commuter tax benefits and reforms to better align tax incentives with the nation's overall transportation goals.

(November 2014)
Millennials in Motion : Changing Travel Habits Among Young Americans and their Implications for Public Policy

Members of the Millennial generation are driving less than previous generations of young Americans and taking transit and biking more. They are more likely to want to live in urban and walkable communities, more technologically connected, and more likely to use new transportation apps and services than older Americans. What is behind those changes? And will they last? Millennials in Motion explores the many factors at play in Millennials' move away from driving and argues that many of those changes are likely to be lasting.

(October 2014)
Highway Boondoggles: Wasted Money and America's Transportation Future

Americans are driving less than in years past. Yet states continue to move forward with highway construction and expansion projects that consume a large share of shrinking transportation revenues, even as other needs – from public transportation improvements to road and bridge repairs – go unmet. Highway Boondoggles: Wasted Money and America’s Transportation Future describes 11 questionable projects around the country – slated to cost at least $13 billion – and calls on policymakers to reevaluate these huge capacity-expanding plans in the context of competing needs and changing priorities.

(September 2014)
Fork in the Road: Will Wisconsin Waste Money on Unneeded Highway Expansion or Invest in 21st Century Transportation Priorities?

Wisconsin’s transportation spending priorities are backwards. In recent years, despite ongoing fiscal challenges, the state has spent billions of dollars on highway expansion projects while slashing transit funding and curbing assistance for local road repair. Fork in the Road: Will Wisconsin Waste Money on Unneeded Highway Expansion or Invest in 21st Century Transportation Priorities? highlights the choice Wisconsin faces: showering $2.8 billion on unnecessary highway expansions, or investing a smaller amount in true transportation priorities, and calls on state officials to reorient the state’s transportation priorities to encourage highway repair and expanded transportation options.

(September 2014)
A New Course: How Innovative University Programs Are Reducing Driving on Campus and Creating New Models for Transportation Policy

Universities and colleges across the country are taking steps to encourage their communities, students, faculty and staff to decrease their reliance on personal vehicles. These efforts are working and showing that efforts aimed at reducing driving deliver powerful benefits for students, staff and surrounding areas. Policymakers at all levels of government should look to college campuses for useful models when looking to expand the range of transportation options available to Americans and address the transportation challenges facing our communities.

(February 2014)
Transportation in Transition: A Look at Changing Travel Patterns in America's Biggest Cities

Residents of America’s cities are driving less and using other modes of travel more. This report compares the latest government data on changes in automobile use, public transit travel and biking in each of America's 100 most populous urbanized areas.

(December 2013)
A New Way to Go: The Transportation Apps and Vehicle-Sharing Tools that Are Giving More Americans the Freedom to Drive Less

America is in the midst of a technological revolution ... and a big shift in our transportation habits. New technology-enabled transportation services - including numerous varieties of carsharing, bikesharing, ridesharing and real-time transit information delivered via smartphone - are emerging rapidly, giving an increasing number of Americans the freedom to adopt car-free and car-light lifestyles. A New Way to Go provides a "field guide" to these new services, documents the impacts they are already having on Americans' transportation choices, and highlights their potential to reshape America's transportation system in ways that further reduce driving.

(October 2013)
Road Overkill: Wisconsin Spends Big on Questionable Highways, Even as Driving Declines

Wisconsin’s transportation system is at a crossroads. The state’s roads and bridges are aging and maintenance needs are increasing. Funding for transit service has been slashed . Yet, the state continues to increase spending on highway expansion projects, despite the fact that driving in Wisconsin is on the decline. Road Overkill looks at seven recent highway expansion projects in Wisconsin and finds that traffic has failed on those highways has failed to materialize as transportation planners expected. Before investing hundreds of millions of dollars in even more highway capacity, Wisconsin officials should review those projects to ensure that they are still worthwhile investments in an era of reduced growth in driving.

(May 2013)
A New Direction: Our Changing Relationship with Driving and the Implications for America's Future

The Driving Boom - a six decade-long period of steady growth in per-capita driving in the United States - is now over. We don't yet know what will replace it. Will members of the Millennial generation continue to drive less than previous generations as they age? Will they revert to the driving patterns of their parents? Or will advances in technology and changes in transportation and housing preferences lead to further declines in driving in the years to come? A New Direction: Our Changing Relationship with Driving and the Implications for America's Future explores these different possible futures and their high-stakes ramifications for transportation policy in the United States.

(May 2013)
Connecting Phoenix and Tucson: The Benefits of Intercity Rail in the Sun Corridor

Arizona is one of the nation's fastest growing states, with much of the growth occurring in the "Sun Corridor" between Phoenix and Tucson. That growth has clogged the sole high-capacity transportation connection between the two cities, Interstate 10. Connecting Phoenix and Tucson documents the benefits of adding intercity rail as a new transportation option for Sun Corridor residents, including cleaner air, less time wasted in traffic, and new opportunities for jobs and economic growth.

(May 2012)
Transportation and the New Generation: Why Young People Are Driving Less and What It Means for Transportation Policy

From WWII until very recently, the number of miles driven on America’s roads steadily increased, and policy makers made transportation investments under the assumption that this trend would continue. This report is about how in recent years, some Americans – especially those in Generation Y – have begun to reduce their driving and increase their use of transportation alternatives. This report explores this new trend, its underlying reasons, the likelihood that it will continue into the future, and its implications for America’s transportation policy.

(April 2012)