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In the Boston suburbs, microtransit makes dramatic progress toward reducing GHG emissions

Learn how three Boston-area microtransit services have reduced emissions by 70% with microtransit.

Via Transportation •

Named the “most innovative” U.S. state in 2022, Massachusetts is a forward-thinking leader across industries — and transit innovation is no exception. Take a look at Boston, where Mayor Michelle Wu has made headlines spearheading free public transportation as a solution to curbing emissions and alleviating the cost-of-living crisis throughout the city. Her office’s New Mobility team is prioritizing a number of initiatives in support of Boston’s pledge to go carbon neutral by 2050: piloting new technologies, preparing EV infrastructure, strengthening connections to existing transit, and improving accessibility.

While Boston makes headlines, the smaller cities and suburbs of the surrounding area have been making their own serious impact on reducing GHG emissions in Massachusetts. At Via, we’ve been working with the cities of Newton, Salem, and Worcester to reduce reliance on private vehicles by offering affordable, on-demand public transit in the form of microtransit. Residents can book rides with these services — NewMo, the Salem Skipper, and Via WRTA — to get around town car-free, or connect to the strong regional transit network for journeys farther afield.

And the result? Our data science team calculates that in 2022, these three services delivered an impressive 70% emissions reduction compared to how passengers would most likely have traveled without microtransit available. By looking at other public transit availability and surveys on travel behavior, our team found that most Boston-area microtransit riders would have driven a personal car or taken a private car or taxi ride, making microtransit an emissions-saving choice.

These results will only get stronger with new technologies and strategies, like electric vehicles, which NewMo introduced in December 2022 to further reduce the microtransit fleet’s emissions. Congratulations to Newton, Salem, and Worcester for driving the pace of innovation in the Boston area!