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NACTO Announces Partnership with Five Cities to Rapidly Design and Build Low-Carbon Transportation Projects by 2020

May 15, 2019

As part of the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge, Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Minneapolis, and Philadelphia Will Each Design and Build a Transformative Bike or Transit Project, Resulting in Measurable Transportation Emissions Reductions

Contact: Alexander Engel | [email protected] | 646-324-2919

The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), today announced a partnership with five cities—Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Minneapolis, and Philadelphia—to accelerate the implementation of high-quality bike and transit corridors by the end of 2020. This work, part of the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge, will help the cities meet, or beat, their near-term carbon reduction goals.

With transportation as the largest single sector of carbon emissions in the U.S., tackling climate change from the street up is a highly effective tool for city governments to take environmental action. Over the next 18 months, NACTO, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and Delivery Associates will provide technical expertise and implementation assistance to each participating city. This in-depth support will help the cities develop and build high-quality bike or transit corridors designed to attract riders, reduce reliance on single-occupancy vehicles, and confront climate change head on.

The partnerships will build on NACTO’s Accelerator model, which helps cities vision, refine, and build internal consensus for bike and transit projects, and gives them the design training necessary to realize their transportation goals. NACTO will provide technical expertise, convene workshops, and create open channels of communication between the participating cities and NACTO’s broader network of 82 cities and transit agencies across North America, who will advise and share lessons from completing similar projects in their own communities.

At the end of 2020, when the Climate Challenge is complete, the five cities will have tangible results to show for their participation: a transformative bike or transit project that increases access to low-carbon transportation options, as well as the technical knowledge, internal process alignment, and external support needed to continue building people-first streets at an accelerated pace.

“There’s tremendous potential in streets,” said Corinne Kisner, Executive Director of NACTO. “At over 80% of urban public space, streets are a vital resource for cities taking climate action. By dedicating more space for high-quality bike and transit lanes, cities can increase access to low-carbon transportation options that are not only attractive, but also safe and reliable. The Climate Challenge cities are doing just this: by committing to these projects, they’re tapping into the potential of their streets to build a more equitable low-carbon future.”

“Given the federal government’s complete failure to act on climate change, local governments must step up,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Special Envoy for Climate Action. “These accelerator cities are doing just that, and we’re glad to support them as they enact the innovative, low-carbon policies we need in order to bring down emissions and strengthen the economy and clean the air we breathe.”

“Transportation accounts for the largest single sector of carbon emissions in the United States,” said Amanda Eaken, Director of Transportation and Climate for NRDC. “Mayors are leading the way redesigning their city streets and prioritizing people, in one of the highest impact opportunity areas for American cities to reduce emissions and work towards a more sustainable future.”

“In 2016, Denver worked with NACTO and RTD to accelerate the Broadway transit lane, a project that resulted in faster bus travel times, more riders through the corridor, and momentum toward our city’s first-ever transit plan,” said Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. “We are excited to once again work with NACTO to accelerate change in our city – this time building connected neighborhood bike networks, helping more Denverites have access to more mobility options and making Denver an even greener, healthier and more livable city.”

“Prioritizing transit is an investment in our city’s future,” said Jacob Frey, Mayor of Minneapolis. “Expanding access to high-quality transit—especially for communities that have historically been denied it—is key for addressing racial and social inequities in Minneapolis. With NACTO’s help, we will build on past efforts to quickly implement and test bus lanes, which will fast-track improvements to the speed and reliability of a core mobility system.”

“We have the power to strengthen our communities by redesigning our streets,” said Jim Kenney, Mayor of Philadelphia. “With the resources and expertise of our partners in the American Cities Climate Challenge, Philadelphia will show what success on our streets looks like: safe, inviting places that tie together communities, with high-quality transit corridors that benefit everyone.”

“Atlanta is poised to build a 21st Century transportation system,” said Keisha Lance Bottoms, Mayor of Atlanta. “With our forthcoming launch of the city’s first-ever Department of Transportation and access to the NACTO network’s expertise, we will emerge from the Climate Challenge with world-class bike lanes, important new sidewalk connections and a team ready to deliver sustainable mobility options for all Atlantans.”

“Boston is a world-class city that puts people first,” said Martin J. Walsh, Mayor of Boston. “Building on the momentum of Go Boston 2030 and in partnership with NACTO and our neighborhood stakeholders, we will work to further improve our transportation options, including an expanded network of high-quality bike lanes, giving Boston residents the safe, effective transportation choices that will keep our city at the forefront of mobility progress and climate action.”

Follow the progress of NACTO’s five Climate Challenge focus cities at, and learn more about the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge and all 25 selected cities at


About the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO)
NACTO is an association of 82 major North American cities and transit agencies formed to exchange transportation ideas, insights, and practices and cooperatively approach national transportation issues. The organization’s mission is to build cities as places for people, with safe, sustainable, accessible, and equitable transportation choices that support a strong economy and vibrant quality of life. To learn more, visit or follow us on Twitter at @NACTO.

About NACTO Program Accelerators
NACTO launched Program Accelerators in 2016 to provide on-the-ground support to cities designing people-first streets. Since then, NACTO has completed four Transit Program Accelerators, in Cambridge, Denver, Indianapolis, and Oakland, and is currently working with San José on a Bike Program Accelerator. Under these programs, NACTO provides technical assistance and expertise from its peer network of 82 major North American cities to move cities’ bike or transit lane projects from concept to design and implementation.

About the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge
The Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge is a $70 million program from Bloomberg Philanthropies that empowers 25 of the largest U.S. cities to implement near-term climate goals and become primary drivers of progress towards meeting America’s pledge on climate. Recognizing that cities account for more than 70% of global carbon emissions – and that mayors have significant authority over cities’ highest emitting sectors: transportation and buildings – the Climate Challenge aims to enhance the work already being done by mayors across the U.S. and to support cities in the fight against climate change.

About Bloomberg Philanthropies
Bloomberg Philanthropies works in 480 cities in more than 120 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2018, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $767 million. For more information, please visit or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter.

About the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
NRDC is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City; Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Chicago; Bozeman, Montana; and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.