In retrospect, poorly balanced transportation systems in the United States have led to auto-dependent communities. Over the past several decades our communities have become less walkable, less bikeable and less accessible to public transit. Studies reveal that the percentage of students who walk or bicycle to school has dropped from 48 percent in 1969 to only 13 percent in 2009. Recent estimates from the American Community Survey also show that nearly nine in 10 (86 percent) of Americans commute to work by car, more than three-quarters (76.1 percent) drive to work alone and only five percent use transit to get to work. And while 71 percent of older households want to live within walking distance of transit, only 53 percent of Americans have access to any form of public transportation.
The central mission of this Center is to engage in research that helps to achieve more balanced, affordable and environmental sustainable transportation systems for all. Such systems will foster the development of livable communities where people can enjoy their daily lives without having to drive a car. In particular, the Center will concentrate on "bringing technological advances into livable communities" by coordinating efforts between researchers, practitioners and advocates. Toward this end, the TRCLC aims to achieve three objectives:
- improve public transit systems and alternative transportation modes;
- provide better and safer pedestrian and bicycle networks; and
- enhance transportation accessibility for people with disabilities, older adults, and lower income populations