A national environmental organization has selected Lincoln as one of "America's Top 15 Smartest Cities For Transit Innovation." The honor is based on a study conducted by the Smarter Cities team of the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) in collaboration with the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT). The study compared U.S. cities based on public transit availability and use; household automobile ownership and use; and innovative, sustainable and affordable transportation programs.
"This is quite an honor for StarTran to be recognized nationally among our peers," said StarTran Transit Manager Larry Worth. "It also reinforces the importance of marketing our services to the public. Ridership is up 10 percent since September 2010, and we've seen steady increases in ridership every month since then. With bike racks being installed on buses and gas prices continuing to increase, we are expecting that upward trend to continue."
NRDC said Lincoln was highlighted because, "Low-income riders pay a mere $7.50 for unlimited bus rides all month long, while households in that city drive the least — on average 16,800 miles per year — of any metropolitan region in the country with populations less than 250,000." Bremerton, Washington; Champaign-Urbana, Illinois; and Yolo, California were other cities honored in the population group.
"Cities like Lincoln that foster compact, walkable, transit-rich communities can reduce reliance on automobiles and help lower at least one expense for households struggling to get by in the current economy," said Scott Bernstein, CNT President.