On June 18th, 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and partners unveiled a new initiative aimed at reducing pollution levels, improving resource efficiency, and reducing infrastructure costs in cities across the world. They called it the Global Initiative for Resource Efficient Cities. This initiative was launched to address sustainability efforts in a rapidly urbanizing world through work with local and national governments, the private sector, and civil society groups in the areas of energy efficiency, efficient water use, and sustainable waste management, among others.
In Boston, Massachusetts, an innovative partnership, A Better City (ABC), has brought together business leaders, planners, and local government to achieve substantial results in transportation, land development, and other infrastructure investments designed to improve the Boston Area’s quality of life and economic prospects. ABC’s core areas of interest are transportation, land development, and the environment. The Hubway Bike Sharing Program is one of its most impressive projects. The project was started by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino’s Boston Bikes Initiative as part of the Mayor’s vision for a vibrant and healthy city.
Although the Hubway has operated for just under two full seasons and closes for the winter months, it has already notched 556,370 trips by residents and visitors, and boasts 9,200 annual members. By the end of this month, the system will have 108 different stations with more than 1000 bikes. The strategic positioning of the bike sharing stations at transit stops makes bicycling and transit more effective and efficient in terms of gas prices and pollution, traffic congestion on roads, and parking. In the 11 months of its existence, Hubway’s bikes have been pedaled 463,000 miles, burning 20 million calories and offsetting 155 tons of carbon emissions. In addition to making travel easier, Hubway is also making a difference in Boston Area’s quality of life. Kristopher Carter, interim director of Boston Bikes says, “Hubway is not just bikes; its public transportation, a public health solution and is helping the environment.”
This article is part of our on-going series on innovative sustainable solutions in cities. If you work with sustainable urban planning or if your city offers a unique sustainability solution that we have not covered, please contact:Michael Denney, Managing Editor email@example.com