Tag: Driving

Progressive Insurance receives Smart Growth America’s first Leadership Award for Business

Earlier this week we announced the winners of our 2013 Leadership Awards. Progressive Insurance was one of the winners.

As Flo, the bubbly white-aproned spokesperson for Progressive Auto Insurance says, “It’s like, from the future, right?” regarding Snapshot, the company’s “pay-as-you-drive” auto insurance. It may seem futuristic, but Progressive has been developing the concept for a long time – the company first launched a forerunner of today’s plan in 1998 and introduced the latest iteration, Snapshot, in 2010.

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Smart growth news – December 8

Economy, gas prices make Americans drive less
USA Today, December 7, 2011
It’s the first time the nation has seen six consecutive monthly decreases since October of 2008. A USA TODAY analysis of data from the Federal Highway Administration shows the miles driven during the year that ended in September were down 1% from a similar measure from February.

Public mass transit regains footing
USA Today, December 7, 2011
More people rode public transportation in the first nine months of this year than last, a sign that more people are working and looking for cheaper options to get around. Ridership on public buses and trains increased 2% — from 7.63 billion rides to 7.76 billion, according to the American Public Transportation Association.

Vacant Homes Impose Big Costs On Cities Amid Budget Crises: GAO
Huffington Post, December 6, 2011
The foreclosure crisis is costing cities at a time when they can least afford it. Millions of homes in America are standing vacant, and in many cases they represent a financial sinkhole for their communities. Local governments — forced to absorb the costs of maintaining or razing these homes, and seeing property taxes plummet in response to the spread of urban blight — are increasingly shouldering the burden of the country’s slumping housing market, according to a report released Tuesday by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

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The Costs and Benefits of Carmageddon

Los Angeles survived the weekend known as “Carmageddon” with minor bumps and early project completion. Despite major predictions and media saturation warning against at total meltdown, there was a tremendous amount of congratulations amongst Los Angelinos for avoiding apocalyptic gridlock.

Instead there were heartwarming stories of people biking, enjoying their neighborhoods with a newfound appreciation, loving the sparsely populated beaches and the very light traffic on the roads. Air pollution and smog levels in the city dropped. Carmageddon became “Karmageddon”! Public transit activists are floating ideas of having more car-free weekends. Wouldn’t it be nice if traffic was cut in half because every other weekend people voluntarily stayed home? Wouldn’t it be great if people had more block parties and biked to meet up with friends? There are lots of benefits to walkable, bikeable, public-transit-able neighborhoods – we’ve known that for years – and Smart Growth America is fighting to create these choices in neighborhoods across the country.

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How carsharing can help a city: the impact of Zipcar in Baltimore

After a year of running its carsharing service in Baltimore, MD, Zipcar released a survey yesterday of its members in the city and the findings are exciting for anyone who supports easy parking, reduced traffic congestion and transportation choices.

According to the survey, people who use Zipcar’s carsharing service reported driving less overall, reduced vehicle ownership and increasing use of other modes of transportation. 18% of respondents have sold their vehicles since joining Zipcar, 46% stated that they have avoided buying a car, and 72% said being a Zipcar member made it less likely they would buy or lease a car in the future. In addition, a full 88% of respondents say they take less than five car trips each month.

All of this means that there are fewer cars on Baltimore roads, and that has great implications for the city.

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“Slugging” saves DC/VA Drivers and Riders Time and Money

David LeBlanc started slugging in 1997 and has been doing it ever since. He’s such a strong slugging supporter that he wrote a short guide and system map for users and now runs the Slug Lines website which is dedicated to the idea.

“Slugging” is an innovative, grassroots form of commuting in Washington DC and Northern Virginia that helps commuters get in and out of the city easily and efficiently. High occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, which require two or more passengers to use, provided the inspiration: drivers who would like to use the more efficient lanes pick up passengers – nicknamed “slugs” – and passengers, for their part, get a free and easy ride into the city. People almost always ride with strangers, but there’s a thriving community of devoted “sluggers.”

No one regulates or manages slugging; it’s a grassroots community of commuters who create carpools on the fly. A few other cities around the country have tried it to varying degrees, but it’s uniquely successful in the DC metro area. No one has ever conducted a formal survey or tally, but in 2007 the Virginia DOT pegged the number of daily sluggers at approximately 10,000 commuters.

LeBlanc visited Smart Growth America’s headquarters this week to discuss some of the frequently asked questions about slugging.

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New report: State transportation decisions could save money and reduce carbon emissions

Download the ReportA new report released today by Smart Growth America and the Natural Resources Defense Council found that transportation policies in every state could save money and reduce carbon emissions by making smarter decisions with state funds.

In “Getting Back on Track: Climate Change and State Transportation Policy,” SGA and NRDC found that current transportation policies in almost all 50 states either fail to curb carbon emission rates or, in some cases, actually increase emissions. This contradiction between state policies and broader efforts to reduce carbon emissions means not only that many states are missing opportunities to protect clean air; it means they are missing economic opportunities as well.

In a press conference this morning, former Maryland Governor Parris Glendening remarked:

Transportation makes up an enormous proportion of our national economy and our environmental impact: it must be front and center as we think about how to get the most out of our public investments. The states that rose to the top in this report, California, Maryland and New Jersey, are there because they are meeting the challenge to innovate.


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Chicago’s 30 year plan looks at day-to-day life and regional prosperity

From CMAP's GO TO 2040 report
A page from the introduction to CMAP’s GO TO 2040 report.

Chicago’s Metropolitan Agency for Planning announced today a visionary plan how the city and its surrounding counties should grow and develop over the next 30 years. The GO TO 2040 project is “a comprehensive regional plan seeks to maintain and strengthen our region’s position as one of the nation’s few global economic centers.” After three years of research, the Agency lays out four main themes in its comprehensive new report: livable communities (including housing, water, energy, parks and local food), human capital (including education and the workforce), efficient governance (including tax reforms) and regional mobility (including strategic investment in transportation).

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National traffic congestion report gets daily driving backwards

A new report out today from CEOs for Cities criticizes the Travel Time Index, an annual scoring of metropolitan areas and their congestion. The Index for each urban area in the US is released annually as part of the Texas …

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World Car Free Day celebrates transportation alternatives

Some streets will be closed to traffic in Montreal today in celebration of World Car Free Day. Photo from Montreal’s Metropolitan Transport Agency, via CBC News. In cities around the world today, people are observing Car Free Day, an event …

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Polar bears for smarter growth

Maybe you’ve seen it: a new commerical by automaker Nissan featuring the company’s latest car, a meandering polar bear and global climate change. The car in question is the Nissan LEAF, “the first 100% electric, no gas, no tailpipe vehicle.” Nissan certainly seems to be seeking the support of the eco-conscious set here, both with the commercial and the car itself. But in a post yesterday about the LEAF, Grist writer Jonathan Hiskes astutely notes that zero-emissions or not, no car is going to be as green as public transit options.

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