NYC: Multifaceted Green Transportation Steps
Much of America’s ecological damage can be traced towards our transportation habits and systems. Our high standard of living, urban sprawl, and the 21st century global trade system all factor into our over consumption of fossil fuels. While federal climate policies are difficult to pass due to partisan agendas, corporate incentives and general bureaucracy, many cities and local governments are doing their part to maximize the energy efficiency within a very wasteful part of American culture.
New York City is the hub of many businesses and industries, making transportation an important part of most New Yorkers’ lives. Many people within city limits rely on the public rail and bus system but as you get farther away from Manhattan, more and more rely on cars to get to work on time. Due to how dense many parts of the city are, traveling via bike or foot are options for many New Yorkers as well. This city utilizes many different forms of transportation so there is a gamut of possible green innovations.
NYC recently chose 5 companies to open dockless bike sharing services in parts of the city that Citibike does not reach. While dockless bike sharing has clear drawbacks like theft and vandalism, it is showing signs of success in places like Rockaway. In a small community that heavily relies on bikes for transportation, bike sharing seems sustainable. While many people would prefer an expansion of Citibike, due to their past success, dockless systems do not need as much infrastructure and gives the city the ability to work with multiple bike sharing services efficiently. While the subway should still be the city’s central transportation service, these innovations will hopefully incentivize more people to use bikes as an alternative.
Switching from the consumer side of transportation, the city is striving to make commercial transportation greener as well. Planes and boats are the most resource-heavy vehicles and cars are ingrained in our country’s culture so these changes are crucial to making New York greener. Many cities, including New York, have promised to buy more electric vehicles for their municipal fleet. Out of the 30,000 cars in New York’s fleet, 1500 are electric and they promise there are more to come. In addition to adding more electric vehicles, the city recently announced a $100 Million plan to modernize freight transportation. The plan consists of investing in multimodal infrastructure, creating new freight distribution hubs, and using more clean trucks. New infrastructure will create more jobs while making freights more environmentally and financially efficient.
Better transportation is always beneficial for businesses especially smaller businesses that still rely on foot traffic. The ability to move around as cheaply and as quickly as possible makes improving a community much easier. More people having access to more things opens up new avenues for both the consumer and the business. Transportation is the backbone of a successful city and making it greener not only saves the planet, but gives local businesses the opportunity to help save the planet.