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Introduction

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How do we achieve carbon-free mobility in Miami?

It’s the year 2040, and mobility in Miami is carbon-free. It is also multimodal, with Miamians navigating South Florida using a mixture of nine mobility modes: walking, ridesharing, trains, buses, bikes, scooters, electric cars, boats, electric aircrafts.

With all these nine modes, getting around our region is faster and more efficient than ever. The increased competition among all these providers has led to more affordable services for Miamians. 

The positive economic effects of this flourishing mobility landscape can be felt by all. Workers can efficiently commute to their jobs, children can arrive safely to school, and tourists can easily bounce between different areas of our county while avoiding the congested arteries that currently make transportation a headache.

Featured Sources

Elizabeth Adams

Elizabeth Adams

Transportation Alternatives

Jarrett Walker

Jarrett Walker

Human Transit

Kevin Amézaga

Kevin Amézaga

Miami Riders Alliance

Daniella Levine Cava

Daniella Levine Cava

Mayor, Miami-Dade County

Eulois Cleckley

Eulois Cleckley

Director of DTPW

Wayne Ting

Wayne Ting

Lime

Riley Kaminer

Riley Kaminer

Refresh Miami

Tina Brown

Tina Brown

Overtown Youth Center

… and 27 organizations

Why it matters

Elizabeth Adams

Elizabeth Adams

Transportation Alternatives

The New York Times

The New York Times

UCLA

UCLA

Miami-Dade is over reliant on private cars and lacks sufficient public transportation. Over decades, the gradual expansion of Miami’s urban sprawl has led to transportation accounting for 55% of our county’s CO2 emissions. Public policy promoting affordable, environmentally sustainable mobility options will be necessary to achieve net-zero goals.

  • Making transport carbon free is key in limiting global warming to less than 2 degrees celsius. In 2020, transporting people and goods from one place to another accounted for 26% of total U.S. energy consumption. Petroleum products accounted for about 90% of the total U.S. transportation sector energy use. 

  • Relying on private cars alone is not a viable long-term solution. Cars continue to become more dangerous, while also causing major environmental issues such as air pollution. Electric cars are a step forward; however, they carry environmental concerns of their own, depending on how their batteries are produced and the source of their electricity. And fewer cars lead to a happier population.

  • Public transportation reduces CO2 emissions by 45%. Improving public transport also carries a positive economic impact. Every $1 billion invested in public transport could create 50,000 jobs.

  • Miami-Dade County’s 2.7 million residents are spread across almost 2,500 square miles. Because of this low density, Miamians need multiple modes to connect distinct urban centers and suburban populations. Intercity links are especially critical in South Florida. The combined annual GDP of Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach is $361 million, making Greater Miami one of the top 15 metro areas by GDP in the US.

Where are we now

Emerging Tech Brew

Emerging Tech Brew

Transit Center

Transit Center

South Florida Business Journal

South Florida Business Journal

Miami Today News

Miami Today News

Refresh Miami

Refresh Miami

Miami New Times

Miami New Times

Techcrunch

Techcrunch

Jarrett Walker

Jarrett Walker

Human Transit

The Miami Herald

The Miami Herald

Axios

Axios

Smart Cities Dive

Smart Cities Dive

Popular Science

Popular Science

Despite Miami-Dade’s overreliance on private cars, we are making progress on adopting nine carbon-free mobility modes, outlined below. These alternatives are increasing in popularity – and have government support – but Miamians remain dependent on cars for their daily mobility needs.

Electric vehicles

  • In 2019, 76.7% of work commutes in Miami-Dade County consisted of people driving to work alone. 8.75% of Miamians carpooled to work, while only 3.82% took public transit. This is roughly on par with similar places like Houston and Los Angeles.

  • There are over 60,000 electric vehicles in Florida, making it the state with the second highest number of electric cars – or 14th on a per capita basis. Local leaders have responded to this outsized interest in electric cars by increasing the number of charging stations. Miami Beach is home to the company with the fourth largest car charging network in the country.

  • Relying on electric cars alone will not bring carbon-free mobility. Electric cars with automated driving features may also be more dangerous than their gas-guzzling predecessors. But our high uptake of electric vehicles signals Floridians’ willingness to experiment with more environmentally-conscious mobility options.

Trains

  • The Brightline – a train connecting West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami with plans to expand to Orlando – recommenced service in late 2021. Ridership is rapidly growing, signaling consumers’ willingness to experiment with new public transport options.

  • There are some local and regional rail options: the Tri-Rail, Metrorail, and Metromover span a combined 100 miles. This system is currently in the process of being expanded. The most recent expansion – a 2.4-mile track to Miami International Airport – was completed in 2012.

Buses

  • Currently, Miami-Dade County has 799 buses in its Metrobus fleet. An additional 75 buses, all of which are electric, are slated to arrive in Miami later this year. Miami-Dade plans to make at least half of its buses electric by 2030.

  • These electric buses reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 230,000 pounds a year compared to diesel buses. 

  • Once all these new electric vehicles have been delivered, 10% of Miami-Dade County’s Metrobus fleet will consist of zero-emission vehicles.

  • There are 192 diesel-powered trolleys running across 24 municipalities in Miami-Dade, according to the County.

eVTOLs

  • Archer Aviation, Lilium, Joby, and Supernal are working to deploy electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircrafts in Miami. 

  • The first companies set to lift off are Joby and Archer Aviation, both of whom aim to start service in 2024.

Bikes

  • Miami-Dade has 201.71 miles of bike lanes (plus an additional 177.49 miles of paved paths and trails).

  • Citi Bike Miami, a bike rental program, has 160 stations across Miami and Miami Beach.

  • However, the lack of bicycle infrastructure and city planning makes cycling an uncomfortable and potentially dangerous proposition.

Boats

  • Water taxis, such as SeaBubbles, have come and gone over the years. However, currently ferry service in Miami is very limited.

  • Ferries succeed under particular scenarios, some of which Miami has (e.g., direct routes to high-density areas), while some of which we do not (e.g., low competition from bridges and tunnels).

Walking

  • Land use is the most important factor in carbon-free mobility. Denser neighborhoods are more walkable. Density varies greatly in Miami – from 5,561/square mile in Coconut Grove to 30,681 in Brickell.

  • Miami still must make strides to become a more walkable city. South Florida is ranked as the 13th most hazardous U.S. metropolis. In 2021, cars hit and killed 1,675 pedestrians in the tri-county area (excluding bicyclists) – a number that has risen during the pandemic. 

  • Tree cover is also a crucial component of walkability, providing shade and reducing crime. Trees bring a host of public health, social, environmental, and economic benefits to cities and their residents including reducing stress, enhancing economic stability, and sequestering CO2. Municipalities such as Miami Beach are working to bolster their canopy. 

Rideshare

  • On top of the proliferation of private companies connecting Miamians with rideshare drivers, municipalities in Miami-Dade are currently running 34 electric on-demand vehicles.

  • Research suggests that using ridesharing apps can play a role in decarbonization.

  • Lyft, Ford, and Argo have come together to bring self-driving cars to Miami.

Scooters

  • Scooters have been a contentious issue in local politics. Advocates point out the benefits for last-mile transportation, while detractors underscore safety and accessibility issues.

  • Currently, only two providers are operating in the City of Miami. However, up to nine scooter companies were active in the city during a previous pilot program.

  • In March 2022, Miami-Dade County launched its first scooter pilot program, covering an unincorporated area in Dadeland.

Perspectives

Kevin Amézaga

Kevin Amézaga

Miami Riders Alliance

Daniella Levine Cava

Daniella Levine Cava

Mayor, Miami-Dade County

Eulois Cleckley

Eulois Cleckley

Director of DTPW

MDC’s Climate Action Strategy

MDC’s Climate Action Strategy

Wayne Ting

Wayne Ting

Lime

  • “Miami needs infrastructure for mobility alternative solutions — and by that I specifically mean pedestrian, bicycle, scooter, and otherwise personal micromobility solutions, not any pod-based or unproven transportation technology that’s more shine than anything else.”

    Kevin Amézaga

    Kevin Amézaga

    Miami Riders Alliance

  • “We are very excited for this new project because it will eliminate one of the barriers that discourage people from transitioning to Electric Vehicles. As more parking lots have charging stations, more people will be able to charge their EV when they go to work. This project is part of our commitment to reducing emissions, and we are just getting started. Miami-Dade County has a full slate of plans for cutting pollution in our new Climate Action Strategy.”

    Daniella Levine Cava

    Daniella Levine Cava

    Mayor, Miami-Dade County

  • "When you walk out of the house, you should have different options available to you so you don't revert to jumping in the car. It's not just Miami-Dade. The country's transit systems have been geared towards automobiles for some time now and a growing number of people don't want to rely only on a car to get around.”

    Eulois Cleckley

    Eulois Cleckley

    Director of DTPW

  • “Reducing transportation-related fuel consumption will have the largest single impact on community wide emissions in Miami-Dade County and requires multiple strategies. These strategies include reducing vehicle and mobile equipment usage, expanding effective low-carbon mobility options, accelerating the electrification of vehicles and equipment and prioritizing those powered by renewable energy, and cutting emissions from our port, airports, and other commercial hubs. Luckily, these are all propositions with multiple long-term economic, health, and climate benefits.”

    MDC’s Climate Action Strategy

    MDC’s Climate Action Strategy

  • "At Lime we see Miami as a future model city for micromobility, a place that has such a successful scooter sharing program that cities around the world look to learn from what works here. We’re heavily invested in the city of Miami and in the entire Southeast region of the country, where we are seeing demand for shared electric vehicles come roaring back to life as cities look to get moving again after the pandemic. We look forward to continuing to grow in partnership with Mayor Suarez and with the entire city of Miami and to expanding our footprint in the region.”

    Wayne Ting

    Wayne Ting

    Lime


Next

Research

Riley Kaminer

Riley Kaminer

Refresh Miami

City of Miami

City of Miami

City of Miami Beach

City of Miami Beach

Miami Dade County

Miami Dade County

City of North Miami Beach

City of North Miami Beach

City of Aventura

City of Aventura

City of Coral Gables

City of Coral Gables

American Public Transportation Association

American Public Transportation Association

Jarrett Walker

Jarrett Walker

Human Transit

Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley

US Energy Information Administration

US Energy Information Administration

C40 Cities

C40 Cities

StateUp Nebula

StateUp Nebula

Core Finance

Core Finance

Dive into some of the latest local, national, and international research about carbon-free mobility.

To learn about our local governments’ plans to reach net zero, look here:

For perspectives on the future of transport nationally, look here:

  • Research on the benefits of high-speed rail, according to the American Public Transport Association.

  • Analysis of what makes ferries successful from public transit consultant Jarrett Walker and the team at his consultancy, Human Transit.

  • Morgan Stanley’s research on flying cars and autonomous aircraft.

  • Data from the US Energy Information Administration on America’s energy use for transportation.

To read some studies on the future of transport from a global perspective, look here:

  • C40, a global network of mayors, on the benefits of public transport for people and the planet.

  • A study undertaken by Finnish academics, noting that people are more satisfied with their life when they use private cars less.

  • Empirical evidence showing that financial incentives to promote cycling work to motivate citizens to cycle more.

  • In-depth analysis of the role governments – and government procurement – can play in decarbonization.

  • A report from Miami-based Core Finance, outlining their outlook for the mobility market from a tech and innovation perspective.

Sparks

Refresh Miami

Refresh Miami

The Miami Herald

The Miami Herald

Climate Town

Climate Town

Miami New Times

Miami New Times

Tina Brown

Tina Brown

Overtown Youth Center

Miami Dade County

Miami Dade County

The future of mobility will be multimodal. Here are some articles, podcasts, and videos providing a glimpse into what that future might look like.

The uptake of electric scooters continues to increase in South Florida, both through app-based rental services and personal devices. 


Innovators and public sector officials are collaborating to change the way we approach car-based transport. Take a look at the latest news about electric vehicles, self-driving cars, and rideshare services.


Within the next couple of years, you might be able to ditch gridlock entirely and hop in an electric-powered aircraft to get you from point A to point B. 


Miami mobility changes by the day. Delve into these articles providing further insights into trends on carbon-free mobility solutions in Miami.

In Progress

This thread is in progress, and we are continuing to build it as we learn more.

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