The City of Pittsburgh has released a transportation plan for the next fifty years, and it includes several ambitious projects, such as river transportation and the hyperloop. Annick Marchal, an expatriate in Pittsburgh for two years, talks about the challenges in terms of mobility.
Pittsburgh plans a half-century into the future with the HMP 2070 Mobility Vision Plan. This project, based on passenger flow data and user questionnaires, considers new modes of transport, from river mobility to cable cars and high-speed trains running to Chicago and Washington, called “hyperloop”. Annick Marchal, an expatriate for two years in Pittsburgh, explains that “as the rail network is not developed in the region, the hyperloop is a great project that could open up and open up Pittsburgh. For the moment, the plane is one of the most used means of transport to travel in the country, but the fares remain expensive and there are few offers from low-cost companies.
Other elements of the 2050 plan include three new river lines and an airport for vertical take-off aircraft. Shorter-term investments such as street renovations to make them “greener” and a network of connected bicycles are also planned. “Circulation by bicycle is not very widespread because of the strong undulation of the city. Most locals use the self-service bicycles to ride along the banks, rather than as a hobby. For daily trips, the car remains the key element of mobility. From the suburbs, everything is done to get around by car, the public transport offer being very limited” says Annick Marcham.
Objective: a halving of transport-related emissions
The city has set a goal to halve its transport-related emissions and vehicle miles traveled by 2030. To achieve this goal, the use of public transport and cycling will have to increase dramatically. According to the 2019 American Community Survey, 17% of trips are made by public transport, and 2% by bicycle. These figures exceed those of many other American cities of similar size but pale in comparison to more advanced metropolises in terms of multi-mobility, such as Helsinki. “For the moment, public transport is not used very much. With the exception of school buses, which are on the other hand well organized, public and free”, specifies Anaick Marchal.
In 2021, the city launched the Transit application, which is part of this same objective of reducing CO2 emissions. From their smartphone, users can plan and pay for their journeys by bus, metro, self-service bicycle, as well as an electric scooter. They can also rent vehicles by the hour and book carpools with Waze. Cities such as Berlin or Los Angeles, via Tokyo, have already experimented with this type of application, without it being clearly proven that it has prompted many users to change the way they travel. The important thing is to offer a wide network of public transport and regular timetables.