Promoting Sustainable Transportation in Downtowns


By Charles Pekow — The key to promoting sustainable transportation such as bicycling in downtowns? Just teach people in every way you can. That’s what an effort in Ithaca, NY found. The State of New York hired Ithaca Carshare to study SmartTrips Ithaca, an effort to encourage people to try sustainable transportation in the small college town. Part of the project involved getting residents to pledge to shift a certain number of trips from car to bus, bike or foot – and then following up on them. The project also gave people bike maps and LED lights as incentives.

Berkeley bike lanes are good for business. Photo by Dave Iltis
Berkeley bike lanes are good for business. Photo by Dave Iltis

The city also had added new bicycle boulevards and the Cayuga Waterfront Trail. Two-to three-hour weekend afternoon workshops also gave people tips on how to increase loads they could carry by bike. But a workshop on riding in traffic was canceled because of low enrollment, though people had expressed concern about the issue.

Carshare’s report notes that access (such as good bike lanes to destinations like grocery stores) are needed as well as education and encouragement. Find the report, SmartTrips Ithaca: Encouraging Sustainable Transportation Options Through a Personalized Educational Campaign at


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