- The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) announced a partnership with five cities — Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Minneapolis and Philadelphia — to design and implement "high-quality" bike and transit projects by the end of 2020 in an effort to cut carbon emissions.
- This partnerships, part of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ American Cities Climate Challenge, will include technical assistance and expertise for each city from NACTO, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Delivery Associates. The partnerships build on NACTO’s Accelerator model, which helps cities quickly design and build transportation projects through training and technical expertise.
- "There’s tremendous potential in streets," NACTO executive director Corinne Kisner said in a statement. "At over 80% of urban public space, streets are a vital resource for cities taking climate action."
Along with their buildings, cities’ transportation sectors are responsible for the majority of carbon emissions, so making them more environmentally friendly is a staple of initiatives like the American Cities Climate Challenge.
That contest, backed by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, selected its 25 winners to explore the electrification of public fleets and transit, while also looking towards greater use of personal electric vehicles (EVs) and adding more charging infrastructure. Bloomberg Philanthropies estimates that by 2025, the 25 cities involved will collectively cut 40 million metric tons of carbon emissions.
In statements released by NACTO, mayors of all five cities said they are committed to providing residents and visitors with more transportation options and making streets safer for all users. The latter aim has come into sharp focus as the rate of pedestrian fatalities on U.S. streets is projected to be at its highest level for 30 years. With NACTO’s help, the five cities hope to have a "transformative" new bike or transit project, and also greater knowledge and ability to carry out subsequent efforts in the same field.
Noting a lack of leadership from the federal government on battling climate change, Bloomberg reiterated, in a statement, that local governments must "step up."
With dire warnings about the effects of climate change consistently issued, cities are fighting back and have set ambitious goals to cut emissions and become more sustainable. Accelerator programs such as this one from NACTO could be helpful in getting environmentally-friendly projects off the ground and encouraging more to be carried out.