The Funders Network is committed to sharing the stories and strategies of our members, partners and others in the philanthropic sector working to create more sustainable, prosperous and equitable communities.

Today, we’re sharing a recent guest column on StreetsBlog Mass from Lisa Jacobson at the Barr Foundation. (Lisa is also an alum of the PLACES Fellowship’s 2017 Cohort and a member of the design committee for the Mobility and Access Collaborative, a TFN initiative.) Her article focuses on the gap in public transportation solutions and the communities they serve. 

During a recent six-day study tour with a group of climate grantmakers and advocates in Amsterdam and London, I marveled at the frequent and fully functioning rail, in contrast to my frustration with the T. The vast, connected networks of protected bike lanes, navigable without fear of Boston drivers or cavernous potholes.

I daydreamed about how it’d feel to have more pleasant travels, how much safer and happier our communities could be, and how we could rid our skies of so much climate-changing pollution.

The study tour also provided the opportunity to meet with people working and living in London and Amsterdam, who explained some of the many ways they are leading the world in terms of efficient, net-zero planning. Some of their successes include ambitious mode share goals (that they are realizing); dedicated revenue sources; electrified freight; and coordinated transportation and land use planning.

And yet, throughout the trip, I began to notice gaps in the way transportation solutions were planned. One key takeaway for me was that their approaches were not sufficient for the future of cities in the United States — and that we need to build and improve upon them.

Read the full article here

Featured image: Neighbors enjoy a Dutch “woonerf,” or shared street, in Utrecht. Photo by Clarence Eckerson, Jr.