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Study: Cities Should Look To Colleges For Tips On Transportation Policy

Cities could ease traffic congestion by following the example of colleges and universities, according to a study released Thursday.

The national study by the WashPIRG Foundation says elected officials should look to places like the University of Washington when shaping transportation policy.

Seattle City Council member Nick Licata says the study’s call for cities to enhance public transportation and decrease the number of cars on the roads is particularly meaningful after theSeawhawks’victory parade on Wednesday, when some 700,000 people packed the city’s downtown streets.

“And there was some congestion, but overall I think it worked as well as it did because of public transportation,” Licata said.

By offering things like discounts for public transit and bike lanes, colleges and universities are leading the way in getting fewer people to drive every day, the report says. That leads to less congestion, less air pollution and less need for parking that consumes land and money.

Licata says Seattle is already doing things that help, like dedicating lanes for public transit and expanding its bike lane program. This report, he says, serves as confirmation to continue or expand that work. 

Ed Ronco is a former KNKX producer and reporter and hosted All Things Considered for seven years.