Reports on Transportation

The reports below represent a sample of Frontier Group’s work on Transportation. For more of our reports on this and related topics, please visit Full archive coming soon.

Transportation in Transition: A Look at Changing Travel Patterns in America's Biggest Cities

Residents of America’s cities are driving less and using other modes of travel more. This report compares the latest government data on changes in automobile use, public transit travel and biking in each of America's 100 most populous urbanized areas.

(December 2013)
A New Way to Go: The Transportation Apps and Vehicle-Sharing Tools that Are Giving More Americans the Freedom to Drive Less

America is in the midst of a technological revolution ... and a big shift in our transportation habits. New technology-enabled transportation services - including numerous varieties of carsharing, bikesharing, ridesharing and real-time transit information delivered via smartphone - are emerging rapidly, giving an increasing number of Americans the freedom to adopt car-free and car-light lifestyles. A New Way to Go provides a "field guide" to these new services, documents the impacts they are already having on Americans' transportation choices, and highlights their potential to reshape America's transportation system in ways that further reduce driving.

(October 2013)
Road Overkill: Wisconsin Spends Big on Questionable Highways, Even as Driving Declines

Wisconsin’s transportation system is at a crossroads. The state’s roads and bridges are aging and maintenance needs are increasing. Funding for transit service has been slashed . Yet, the state continues to increase spending on highway expansion projects, despite the fact that driving in Wisconsin is on the decline. Road Overkill looks at seven recent highway expansion projects in Wisconsin and finds that traffic has failed on those highways has failed to materialize as transportation planners expected. Before investing hundreds of millions of dollars in even more highway capacity, Wisconsin officials should review those projects to ensure that they are still worthwhile investments in an era of reduced growth in driving.

(May 2013)
A New Direction: Our Changing Relationship with Driving and the Implications for America's Future

The Driving Boom - a six decade-long period of steady growth in per-capita driving in the United States - is now over. We don't yet know what will replace it. Will members of the Millennial generation continue to drive less than previous generations as they age? Will they revert to the driving patterns of their parents? Or will advances in technology and changes in transportation and housing preferences lead to further declines in driving in the years to come? A New Direction: Our Changing Relationship with Driving and the Implications for America's Future explores these different possible futures and their high-stakes ramifications for transportation policy in the United States.

(May 2013)
Connecting Phoenix and Tucson: The Benefits of Intercity Rail in the Sun Corridor

Arizona is one of the nation's fastest growing states, with much of the growth occurring in the "Sun Corridor" between Phoenix and Tucson. That growth has clogged the sole high-capacity transportation connection between the two cities, Interstate 10. Connecting Phoenix and Tucson documents the benefits of adding intercity rail as a new transportation option for Sun Corridor residents, including cleaner air, less time wasted in traffic, and new opportunities for jobs and economic growth.

(May 2012)
Transportation and the New Generation: Why Young People Are Driving Less and What It Means for Transportation Policy

From WWII until very recently, the number of miles driven on America’s roads steadily increased, and policy makers made transportation investments under the assumption that this trend would continue. This report is about how in recent years, some Americans – especially those in Generation Y – have begun to reduce their driving and increase their use of transportation alternatives. This report explores this new trend, its underlying reasons, the likelihood that it will continue into the future, and its implications for America’s transportation policy.

(April 2012)
Common Connections: The Importance of Public Transportation for College Students and Seniors in Massachusetts

College students and senior citizens account for more than one out of every five Massachusetts residents and share a need for high-quality alternatives to driving – particularly public transportation. Common Connections describes the critical role that transit plays in the lives of Massachusetts students and seniors and highlights the growing demand for transit service across the Commonwealth.

(November 2011)
High-Speed Rail: Public, Private or Both?: Assessing the Prospects, Promise and Pitfalls of Public-Private Partnerships

Private sector companies are likely to play a major role in the construction of high-speed rail lines in the United States. Yet, the experience with "public-private partnerships" (PPPs) in the construction of high-speed rail lines abroad has been mixed. High-Speed Rail: Public, Private or Both? discusses the pros and cons of high-speed rail PPPs, reviews the experiences abroad, and lays out a series of principles that should guide future high-speed rail PPPs in the United States.

(July 2011)
Do Roads Pay for Themselves?: Setting the Record Straight on Transportation Funding

Highway advocates often claim that roads "pay for themselves" through gas taxes and other so-called "user fees." Do Roads Pay for Themselves? debunks this and other myths that highway advocates use to obtain a larger slice of the transportation funding pie, and argues for investing in transportation projects that deliver the greatest benefits to society, rather than setting aside vast amounts of money devoted exclusively to highways.

(January 2011)
A Track Record of Success: High-Speed Rail Around the World and its Promise for America

As America moves toward construction of new high-speed rail networks in regions throughout the country, we have much to learn from experiences abroad. A Track Record of Success reviews the experience with high-speed rail in nations around the world and documents the benefits high-speed rail has delivered in those countries for the environment and the economy.

(November 2010)
Connecting the Midwest: How a Faster Passenger Rail Network Could Speed Travel and Boost the Economy

The Midwest’s congested airports and crammed highways hinder travel around the region. As the main source of our dependence on oil, our transportation system also leaves us vulnerable to oil price spikes and pollution. Connecting the Midwest explains how an intercity passenger rail network linking all the Midwest's major cities could help address many of the region’s toughest transportation challenges, while delivering badly needed economic activity.

(September 2010)
Next Stop, California: The Benefits of High-Speed Rail Around the World and What's in Store for California

As California moves toward construction of a new high-speed rail network, the state has much to learn from experiences abroad. High-speed rail lines have operated for more than 45 years in Japan and for three decades in Europe, providing a wealth of information about what California can expect from high-speed rail. Next Stop: California describes the benefits achieved - and the challenges faced - by nations around the world that have built high-speed rail systems.

(June 2010)
Charging Ahead: Curbing Oil Consumption with Plug-In Cars

America's current fleet of cars and trucks leaves us dependent on oil, and contributes to air pollution that fuels global warming and harms our health. Charging Ahead, explores the potential of plug-in hybrids, which can get up to 100 miles per gallon of gasoline, and electric vehicles, which use no gasoline at all, to address our energy and global warming challenges. It also tracks the progress of auto manufacturers in the race to produce plug-in cars.

(June 2010)
Georgia's Transportation Crossroads: Why the Peach State Should Invest in Transit for the 21st Century

Georgia is in a transportation crisis. Roadway congestion wastes time and energy, tailpipe pollution causes health and environmental problems, and our oil dependence only grows. Expanding public transportation can provide more Georgians with alternatives to driving, while addressing these problems and laying the foundation for an efficient transportation system for the 21st century. Public transportation already helps hundreds of thousands of Georgians get where they need to go. But Georgia’s transit systems are disjointed, under-funded, and fall far short of their potential. Scores of good transit projects are waiting in the wings, while the problems affecting our transportation system only multiply. The state must reshape its transportation planning and funding priorities to address its decades-long underinvestment in transit.

(June 2010)
Road Work Ahead: Holding Government Accountable for Fixing America’s Crumbling Roads and Bridges

Over the last 50 years, America has built roads and bridges at a pace and scale that dwarfs most of the rest of the world. Now, much of that system is showing its age – and as maintenance needs continue to grow, we are falling farther behind. Across the nation, drivers face more than 150,000 miles of roads in less than good condition and more than 70,000 decaying bridges. The deterioration of our roads and bridges is the direct result of countless policy decisions that put other considerations ahead of the pressing need to preserve our investment in the highway system. To fix our roads and bridges, America must adopt strong “fix it first” rules that give priority to maintenance of our existing roads and bridges, set national goals for the condition of our transportation system, and hold state governments accountable for achieving results.

(April 2010)