Re-imagine North Carolina’s transportation

Climate change requires some dramatic rethinking of transportation since it is the largest contributor to heat-trapping gases. Reducing our reliance on carbon pollution from vehicles and limiting the number of miles driven can have a big impact on combatting climate change. Changes in transportation can also create more liveable, equitable, and enjoyable communities across North Carolina.

Today we need to consider innovative transportation options that enhance our communities and improve quality of life for our families instead of the old, narrow highway-centric thinking. Rethinking our transportation approach is an opportunity to

  • cut harmful air pollution and improve the health of our families,
  • prevent stormwater run-off from roads and parking lots that contributes to flooding and water pollution,
  • address harm from poorly planned highways that historically bisected Black and Brown communities,
  • rethink driving for hours a day which makes us less healthy – in body and in mind—and,
  • improve access to jobs through more affordable infrastructure.
Building more compact communities with a mixture of land uses and an array of transportation options reduces the need to drive and reduces the distance when we do drive, cutting pollution, improving health, fostering economic growth, and promoting equity.

When people spoke up during planning for the next 30 years by the Durham Chapel Hill Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization. Officials listened. They came up with a new plan to reach local government goals to reduce heat-trapping carbon emissions, eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries, and reduce racial and economic disparities in access to jobs and other destinations.

Local metropolitan planning organizations across North Carolina are required by federal law to develop transportation plans for 2050. Each one must listen to the people it represents.

Now is the time to rethink our transportation future. Speak up and let your local officials know what you’d like in your community.

At the state level, a newly formed advisory board is developing a North Carolina Clean Transportation Plan that builds on our groundbreaking legal settlement to tackle climate change at the N.C. Department of Transportation. Its mission is to develop a list of actionable policies and programs to reduce climate changing emissions from the state’s transportation sector.

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