Leading with transit: How city leadership on transit can create more equitable, sustainable, and economically vibrant cities

  • November 8, 2018
  • COWS
  • Mayors Innovation Project

Affordable, reliable, and equitably distributed transit can offer enormous benefits to U.S. cities, which today are growing, changing, and diversifying. Transit that is well-planned, well-funded, and well-operated can help protect the environment, improve public health, encourage economic development, raise standards of living, and reduce racial and income-driven disparities.

Despite these many potential benefits, transit ridership today in most cities is falling. Faced with competing transportation options and aging infrastructure, cities must deploy targeted resources and explore key strategies to ensure a robust, sustainable transit system that helps it meet its equity, economic, and environmental goals and obligations. Good transit policy and infrastructure can be put to work to dramatically improve cities, but local governments need to implement policy using a holistic, non-siloed approach centered on equity. Mayors and other city leaders must understand the big picture, use their leadership role to hire and champion effective staff, and direct city departments and transit authorities to work together to design integrated transportation options that consider all modes of transit and all riders.