Transportation is about to change

The last time I got on a train, plane or subway was six months ago. For an inveterate traveler like myself, someone with a million air miles, that feels like a lifetime. I’m not complaining. COVID-19 is real, it’s deadly, and we all need to make sacrifices in order to conquer this pandemic. 

As a transportation and environmental journalist, I have been reporting on how fear, stay-at-home orders and lifestyle changes are impacting public transit, passenger rail and the economy. There’s much more to this story than I can cover in my day job, and I’ve seen that many people want to follow the story and learn more. That’s why I’m starting this newsletter.

Airline travel in the U.S. is about a third of what it used to be. Internationally, due to border closures, it’s even worse. Trains are running empty. City and state budgets are taking a hit from lower tax receipts and reduced business activity. 

The future is far from certain. It will depend partly on the course of the pandemic and the economy. But it also depends on what we want from our transportation providers. How this plays out in the coming years will affect essential social issues and the global environment. That’s why I’ve titled this newsletter “Sustainable Transportation.” 

Will remote work change the pattern of commuting and business travel? When will we feel safe getting on an airplane or riding the subway? How will transit agencies cope with sharply reduced revenues? Will major infrastructure projects be delayed or canceled? Will city dwellers really head for the hills? What role will automobiles play in the future?

How we answer these questions will determine whether we move forward with new thinking and better transportation, or slide back to old, unsustainable patterns that serve us poorly, if at all.

The current crisis demands change. Sustainable transportation is about equal, fair and affordable access. It’s about transportation’s role in the climate crisis and its role in solving the crisis. It’s about trains, buses, planes, motor vehicles and a host of new and forthcoming technologies.

Big changes are coming in the way we travel, the way we get to work, and the way transportation adapts to social changes. 

Subscribe now to follow this journey. Welcome aboard. 

About Me

I write for Trains Magazine and News Wire, and I have contributed to The Atlantic/CityLab, Sierra Magazine, Hakai Magazine, Mongabay and Pacific Standard. My career began as a journalist for the WardsAuto group of automotive industry publications. I’ve also worked in the auto industry as public relations counsel to major brands including Honda, Toyota and Kawasaki.

My approach to most stories I write comes through a four-sided prism. History provides the background and context; data provide the facts and details; politics and economics provide the narrative. 

So, this isn’t a hobby. It’s my métier. The initial plan is a weekly newsletter, published at the end of the week. Subscribe now and tell your friends and colleagues. 

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