Green Innovations

Developing renewable and clean technology companies in New York

Monday, November 23, 2009

Clean living in cities that drive smarter

U.S. News and World Report published a list this month of 15 cities for "people who hate driving and long commutes." Syracuse made the list, which also included: Cambridge, Pittsburgh, Boulder, Ann Arbor, Minneapolis, and Eugene and Portland. 

See a slideshow about all 15 cities:

U.S. News noted that, "The list is heavy on college towns, for a few good reasons: Such places are good fits for non-drivers because they are often compact and dense, and they often have liberal populations that demand more investment in public transportation."

Syracuse had a shorter average commuting time (16.3 minutes) than all but two of the other 15 cities.  The report noted that Syracuse stands out in the percentage of pedestrian commuters, with data from the 2000 Census putting Syracuse just one spot behind New York City. "More than 10 percent of Syracuse's commuters walk to work," according to the report. "Also, while it's one of the largest cities in one of the largest states, Syracuse's metro area population is less than one million, so traffic isn't a huge issue. Finally, the city's Centro bus system connects workers to employment areas within the city and surrounding counties. Centro boasts ridership of 42,000 daily."

The Central New York Regional Transportation Authority introduced nine new diesel-electric buses to its Centro fleet, bringing hybrid technology to the public transit system in 2007.  Fifteen years ago, Centro brought compressed natural gas buses to Central New York and currently operates 120 CNG buses in Syracuse and surrounding suburbs.  Over the next few years, Centro plans to largely convert its fleet to hybrid technology. It is estimated it will reduce fuel usage by more than 4 million gallons over the lifetime of the approximately 130 such buses to come on line over the next five years– a 33% reduction compared to CNG buses. In addition to a significant reduction in emissions, the hybrid buses also reduce noise pollution, operating at sound levels approaching those of passenger cars.

Get smarter ... Read while you're taking the bus.  Check the schedule at: