While electric vehicles hold big promise in 2021, another aspect of decarbonizing transportation could get major support this year: reducing car driving.

Cutting down on car trips isn't about guilt-tripping folks into abandoning cars. Many of us need to use cars. It's about providing much better opportunities, infrastructure and incentives for alternatives to driving including walking, biking, micromobility and public transit, as well as better options for remote work and urban housing.

Two transportation-related silver linings of the COVID-19 era are:

  1. Many cities quickly adapted to shelter-in-place orders by offering new mobility opportunities. Slow streets programs opened up roads for pedestrians and bicycles, while cities opened up parking spaces for outdoor dining, helping small businesses.
  2. Companies that can do so are making plans to embrace policies that could make remote work permanent for substantial portions of their workforce. For example, Salesforce announced last week its plan for flexible work schedules that offer some employees the opportunity to work entirely at home (wherever home happens to be).

Now that, strangely enough, 2020 has primed cities to make choices about better streets for people (instead of just cars), 2021 is a prime opportunity to keep the momentum going by building back with lower-carbon transportation infrastructure. And that's not just about EV infrastructure. A lot of this work will be about creating better and more bike lanes, a major boost in funding for public transit (President Joe Biden is pledging $20 billion) and even encouraging city transportation incentive tools (such as congestion zones and tolls).

Read the full article about sustainable transportation by Katie Fehrenbacher at GreenBiz.