This document is a section of a larger Energy and Public Transit proposal that was developed by the Science Applications, Inc. The proposal was prepared for the American Public Transit Association in 1976 and it focuses primarily on the transportation sector's energy usage and how that can be modified.

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This document is a section of the Green New Deal legislation that is sponsored by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ed Markey. The resource introduces initiatives that the legislation proposes to do in order to improve the transportation sector.

Urban developers in the late 20th century had to consider suburban population growth, economic and environmental sustainability when planning the future of transportation. This can be seen in the Energy and Public Transit proposal that was developed for the American Public Transit Association. This primary source represents the tone and support for the automobile industry by an organization that is aware of the environmental damage caused by vehicle emissions. The document argues that there “seems to be a significant role for public transit in the development of US energy strategies both for accommodating oil scarcity and safeguarding against interruptions.” Although the document recognizes the need for transit, it does not identify possibilities for transportation policies that would prioritize the safeguarding of the environment.

Nicholas Low argues that as of right now, the majority of the world’s transportation systems are unsustainable and that the goal for the rich cities of the world should be to move towards a zero-carbon transport system.[1] Based off of the proposal written in 1976, this was not the priority then and it is still not a priority of urban developers and policy makers now. Although, the recent legislation introduced by representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in February of 2019 signals a possible shift in priorities. Section H argues for an investment in zero-carbon vehicle infrastructure, affordable public transit, and high-speed rail. This proposal is in an attempt to overhaul the current transportation system in the United States, in order to “remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector.”

Although the environmentalist movements of the 70s never achieved a zero-carbon transport system in America today, that is not to discredit the work of the movement in relation to the transportation industry; The Green New Deal’s proposition on modernizing transportation is due to the environmentalist movement of the 70s, and years prior. Low also argues that the environmental movements of the 1970s gave added momentum to federal aid for public transit and this scientific proposal of 1976 confirms just that.[2] Although the environmentalist movement of the 1970s had advocated for better transit, there was not enough impetus for transit to develop into the suburbs of American society.

[1] Nicholas Low, Transforming Urban Transport : the Ethics, Politics and Practices of Sustainable Mobility, (London: Routledge, 2013), 70.

[2] Ibid., 66