The way we get around has a big impact on our environment. We spend a lot of time driving, which leads to congestion on our roads, worse air quality, higher carbon emissions, and less active lifestyles. For generations, transportation has been car-focused. This means that, in many ways, our existing land use patterns encourage us to get in the car instead of choosing healthier and more environmentally friendly options like walking, biking, or taking public transit. The City of Somerville is working to change this car-centric legacy through planning and zoning and is also working to support the transition to cleaner car technologies.
Although we love to see fewer cars on the road, sometimes we need cars to get around and want a sustainable option. Electric vehicles help keep the air cleaner, save money on gasoline, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Somerville is working to make it easier to choose to go electric by installing charging stations throughout the City:
The City is also working to green its municipal fleet by transitioning some vehicles to electric or hybrid models. Keep an eye out for the City’s electric cars driving around—all of them feature the SustainaVille logo. Interested in getting your own electric car? Be sure to check out Massachusetts Offers Rebates for Electric Vehicles to see if you could receive a rebate from the state.
Choosing to walk, bike, or take public transportation helps to keep you and our environment healthy. The City of Somerville is working to make it easier and more enjoyable to leave your car at home by improving bicycle facilities, making our neighborhoods more pedestrian friendly, and encouraging transit-oriented development. Somerville is dedicated to enhancing public transportation by improving the 15 existing bus routes (and over 400 bus stops) that run through the city, while also bringing train service in the form of the Assembly Square T station (opened in 2014) and through the Green Line Extension project. In 2014, Somerville became the first municipality in Massachusetts to pass a Complete Streets Ordinance, which codifies the City’s ongoing mission of creating and supporting alternative modes of transportation for all users by ensuring that Somerville’s streets are designed to make walking, biking, and taking public transportation safer and more convenient.
Somerville is already a popular place to bike, walk, and take public transportation:
- Over half of Somerville’s commuters get to work by walking, biking, or taking public transportation.
- In 2014, Somerville was ranked the 7th most walkable city nationally according to Walk Score. In 2016, Somerville was considered too small to include in the official rankings, which only look at cities with populations over 200,000, but our Walkscore of 86 equals that of San Francisco, the second most walkable city in the nation after New York.
- According to research by the League of American Bicyclists, Somerville tied for 4th for the highest percentage of bike commuters in the country in 2014!