On Tuesday the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) announced plans of tripling the share of travel by modes other than automobiles by 2030. Known in the transportation industry as “mode shift goals,” Massachusetts is one of the first states to unfold such a plan, as far as we know, Rhode Island is the only other state that also has such a goal.
This is a big step (pedal stroke or Charlie Card swipe) in the right direction! We all know that reducing the number of crazy Massachusetts drivers is a goal in itself but it also improves our environment and strengthens our communities, not to mention decreases traffic and street congestion.
As Rafael Mares, staff attorney at the Conservation Law Foundation, told the Boston Globe, “[i]f you don’t reduce the number of vehicle miles traveled, you aren’t going to be able to reduce greenhouse gases sufficiently. And the way to change the behavior is to provide more infrastructure.” MassDOT’s mode shift goal is essential to reducing greenhouse gases.
While the opposition would like to think otherwise, mode shift goals are not about forcing people not to drive; it’s about providing reliable, safe, and affordable means of transportation, so people who would like to have a choice actually have the choice not to drive.
In announcing its goal, MassDOT did not quantify exactly how many people presently commute on public transportation, walk, or bike. Once MassDOT releases these numbers to the public, we will fully understand the significance of this announcement.
As of right now, we can celebrate in Richard Davey’s, the Secretary and CEO of MassDOT, declaration: “I have news for you. We will build no more superhighways in this state. There is no room.”