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The European Union is angling for climate neutrality by 2050, and in order to hit that target needs to ramp down its transportation emissions by about 90 percent. Trams — or what is known as light rail here in the U.S. — are having a moment as part of that planning. Most European tram networks were built in the first half of the 20th century, but many in capitalist Western Europe were abandoned in favor of car-centric infrastructure. In many cities, the rails are still there — it’s just a matter of funding the return to tram service. Lisbon, Berlin, and Milan are all among cities that plan to restore or expand their tram networks.
Why This Matters: Lowering emissions doesn’t have to mean reinventing the wheel. As Lisbon Mobility Alderman Miguel Gaspar told Politico EU about efforts in Portugal: “We’re reinforcing a system that was created over 150 years ago to service residents scattered throughout our seven hills, and which now has the added value of being a decarbonized transit option for our city.” Restoring tram lines gives people increased opportunities to navigate their cities without a car, and building new lines expands access without costing as much as an underground subway system. It also could light a path for the Biden administration’s efforts to restore or add light rail systems here to replace auto congestion in places like Seattle and Charlotte.
Tram Updates Across Europe
From Austria to Sweden, Europe has a long list of cities with tram networks.
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer Devastating wildfires in the world’s coldest region have led scientists to declare an “airpocalypse.” Siberia is being plagued by toxic fumes and wildfire smoke so thick that flights were suspended last week due to low visibility. 3.7 million acres of Northeastern Siberia have been destroyed, and with no end in sight, experts are […]
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer The Bootleg fire in Southern Oregon has grown so large and so hot that it’s creating its own weather. You read that right; the Bootleg fire is disrupting wind patterns, causing fire to spread faster, and has even caused its own lightning. This development has presented an additional hardship for […]
In the U.S., about 100,000 deaths occur each year due to exposure to ambient air pollution – before the COVID-19 pandemic, this represented about 1 in 25 deaths. Air pollution is a ruthless killer that can even harm the development of babies while they’re still in the womb. That’s why it was important that the […]
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