BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts is getting serious about getting people out of their cars and into biking, walking and more use of public and private transit.
In separate events in Springfield and Boston, Richard Davey of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation announced a goal of tripling the share of travel by modes other than automobiles in the next 18 years.
To make the point, Davey and staff members made the trip to Springfield on a regularly scheduled Peter Pan bus as well as the return trip to South Station where the afternoon event took place.
The first speaker in Boston was Thomas Tinlin, commissioner of Transportation for the city. That fact alone shows that all branches of government are working together on this ambitious project under the direction of Governor Patrick.
“As Mayor Menino has said many times, the car is no longer the king of Boston,” commented Tinlin. The city now has 57 miles of bike lanes in the city. About 570,000 people have taken advantage of The Hub Way bike sharing program, burning some 20 million calories.
With the mode shift goal MassDOT will be able to foster improved quality of life, a better environment and preserve current capacity on the state’s highways.
Transportation is second to buildings as a source of greenhouse gas emissions with the vast majority of transportation emissions coming from cars and trucks.
Governor Patrick signed the Global Warming Solutions Act into law in 2008 and in 2010 established targets of 25 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2020.
“We’re not there yet in the public’s eye in doing what we propose, but 10 years from now they may be more amenable,” said Davey.
The success of the program will be measured by a number of studies over time.
Among the changes that should take place in the next decade is the expansion of South Station taking over the place next to it, now occupied by the U.S. Post Office. As the event concluded all MBTA afternoon commuter trains were running on time.
One of the newest upgrades of the MBTA transit system is in place on the Red Line where the arrival times of subway trains are now posted on electronic boards.
The commonwealth’s mode shift will be featured in MassDot’s GreenDOT Implementation Plan to be finalized late this fall.
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