Archive for the ‘cnt’ Category

New study compares emissions of city and suburban households

May 27, 2009

At first glance, cities may appear to be a big source of the greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. But new research by the nonprofit Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT), which compares greenhouse gas emissions of city and suburban households, yields some surprising results.

CNT, which launched I-GO Car Sharing in 2002, looked at emissions of carbon dioxide, a key greenhouse gas, stemming from household vehicle travel in 55 metropolitan areas across the U.S. When measured on a per household basis, it found that the transportation-related emissions of people living in cities and compact neighborhoods can be nearly 70% less than those living in suburbs. See how this compares in your region. (Click on “Household Auto Greenhouse Gas Emissions.”)

“Cities are more location-efficient—meaning key destinations are closer to where people live and work,” said Scott Bernstein, CNT’s President. “They require less time, money, fuel and greenhouse gas emissions for residents to meet their everyday travel needs. People can walk, bike, car-share, take public transit. So residents of cities and compact communities generate less CO2 per household than people who live in more dispersed communities, like many suburbs and outlying areas.

“If you’re deciding where to live, consider moving to an urban area. You’ll help fight global warming by emitting less CO2. And you’re likely to drive less, so you’ll spend less on transportation, saving up to $5,000 annually.”

CNT’s research shows that average transportation costs vary greatly depending on location, from a low of 14% of area household median income in transit-rich, compact communities, to highs of 28% or more in exurban areas where employment, retail, and other amenities are more dispersed.

CNT focused on vehicle travel as a source of emissions, since research shows that transportation accounts for 28% of all greenhouse gases in the U.S. Its work compares the conventional per-acre analysis of greenhouse gas emissions due to vehicle travel with a new per-household view in each metropolitan area it studied. The results suggest that, due to their density and transportation alternatives, cities are a central part of the climate change solution.

The research is an outgrowth of CNT’s Housing + Transportation Affordability Index, which examines several aspects of location efficiency. One is the true cost of housing when household transportation costs are factored in, which vary widely by location. Together, transportation and housing can account for more than 60% of annual household expenses for some working families living in outlying areas—significantly impacting their cost of living and quality of life. The site also illuminates the environmental cost of housing location, which includes impacts like household carbon dioxide emissions.

Since its launch a year ago, the H+T Affordability Index has been expanded to show current CO2 maps, as well as the impact of location and gasoline costs on household budgets between the years 2000 and 2008. It has also been redesigned and enhanced for ease of use and data access.

With generous funding from the Rockefeller Foundation, the index will be expanded to cover more than 330 metropolitan areas in the U.S. later this year.

Founded in 1978, CNT is a Chicago-based nonprofit organization that works nationally to advance urban sustainability by researching, inventing and testing strategies that use resources more efficiently and equitably. Its programs focus on climate, energy, natural resources, transportation, and community development. CNT is one of eight nonprofits selected from around the world to be recognized by a 2009 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

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I-GO Car Sharing applauds Center for Neighborhood Technology, recipient of 2009 MacArthur Award

April 28, 2009


I-GO Car Sharing is proud to be a part of the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT), which on Tuesday, April 28, was one of only eight organizations around the world to be selected for the 2009 MacArthur Award for Creative & Effective Institutions.

“The MacArthur Foundation has a long history of supporting organizations around the world like these that demonstrate the creativity, drive, and vision to make the world more just and peaceful,” said MacArthur President Jonathan Fanton. “These organizations may be small but their impact is tremendous. From protecting human rights to improving urban neighborhoods to conserving biodiversity, they are blazing new paths and finding fresh solutions to some of our most difficult challenges.”


It was CNT—one of the country’s most venerable and innovative think tanks committed to urban sustainability issues—that originally launched I-GO Car Sharing in 2002. We remain closely attached to them to this day—both in terms of mission and literally: I-GO’s HQ is housed in the same LEED-certified-platinum office building in Wicker Park.

The accolades weren’t just from the MacArthur Foundation.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn: “The Center for Neighborhood Technology is an innovative and creative organization that has maintained a strong focus on sustainability for over 30 years,” said Illinois Governor Pat Quinn. “The new technologies and ideas CNT has developed have kept Illinois at the forefront of green innovation, and this award is a fitting tribute.”

Sadhu Johnston, Chief Environmental Officer, City of Chicago: “Building a green city takes more than leadership from city government—it takes strong partners in the community. CNT has been and continues to be a valuable partner in the development and implementation of Chicago’s Climate Action Plan. Their in-depth analysis, along with their experience in implementing programs in transportation and energy, effectively demonstrate how and why cities are the solution to climate change.”

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

We encourage everyone to read up on this remarkable, prescient organization that has been waaaaay ahead of the green curve since its founding three decades ago. Reinventing a “smart energy grid” for the nation may be the green topic du jour now. But CNT has been talking smart grid long before the greenwashing bandwagon hoppers grabbed ahold of those coattails.

Besides I-GO, they’ve created other green consumer programs:

  • CNT Energy’s Power Smart Pricing helps residential consumers cut energy costs and reduce their peak energy use through hourly price signals. The plan was adopted by ComEd and other electricity providers in the Midwest.
  • The Energy Savers program offers a one-stop shop for energy audits and loans to finance improvements that substantially reduce natural gas and electricity use in multifamily buildings. Reductions in energy consumption lower the operating costs of rental properties, keeping them affordable for the long term.

No doubt they’ll keep innovating for another 30 years and beyond.

Congratulations CNT!

Plugging in with Gov. Pat Quinn

April 22, 2009

I-GO press conference
Originally uploaded by igocar sharing

I-GO held a press conference with Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and ComEd on April 21 at the James R. Thompson Center to announce I-GO’s new plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. ComEd funded the plug-in conversions for the two cars. Representatives of the Center for Neighborhood Technology — which launched I-GO in 2002 — were on hand as well.

Gov. Quinn referred to car sharing as a significant movement in the state’s emerging green infrastructure, and said he supports the proliferation of plug-ins across Chicago and the state. I-GO hopes to expand its plug-in program in Chicago and beyond as that green industry expands in the years to come.

Check out our Flickr photo gallery of the event!

Tracking the CTA

February 4, 2009

The sweeping changes underway at the CTA are fueling water-cooler conversation for working stiffs and sustainable-transportation experts alike.

The latter category includes Maria Choca Urban, one of our colleagues at the Center for Neighborhood Technology (I-GO‘s parent org, an urban-sustainability-focused “think and do tank”), who, on Monday’s Eight Forty-Eight program on Chicago Public Radio (WBEZ), gave an insightful assessment of the CTA that comes from firsthand experience. Maria was formerly General Manager for Policy and Strategic Solutions at CTA, and now serves as Program Manager for Transportation and Community Development at CNT.

Listen to the streaming audio file here.

RedEye‘s “Going Public” columnist Kyra Kyles was the other guest commentator on the show, and both women offered a balanced, informed POV on the the agency many Chicagoans have had a love-hate relationship with for decades.

Of course, Daley’s favorite young-gun troubleshooter—ascendent, studly Everyman Ron Huberman, who’s apparently on track to head every major city agency before declaring himself a senatorial or gubernatorial candidate (not too far-fetched, right?)—was the main topic. Maria offered praise for Huberman’s efforts in his too-brief stint at CTA, including better accountability standards in the massive bureaucracy (did you know CTA has 11,000 employees?! and that’s after a recent layoff), making better use of collected data, and the CTA’s oft-beleaguered customer relations.

But she and Kyles both agreed that the new Chicago Public Schools chief (hey, he’s an ex-cop and transit guy—maybe he can get the kids to class on time and bust more troublemakers) wasn’t in charge long enough to see his initiatives truly evolve and pay off.

When a listener called in to ask why Chicago can’t have city agency bosses with experience specific to the orgs they head, Maria said that she and her fellow transit-minded think-tankers at CNT would definitely like to see a experienced transportation professional take the reins at CTA.

Is Dorval Carter, the interim prez, the right dude for the gig?

Carter’s a lawyer who moved up from Executive Vice President for Operations Support, and he’s been responsible for directing the planning and operations functions for multiple departments including Human Resources, Purchasing, Public Affairs, Government and Community Relations and Finance. Prior to joining the CTA in 2000, Carter spent 10 years at the Federal Transit Administration where he was Assistant Chief Counsel for Legislation and Regulation and managed the office responsible for preparing and directing the federal legislative and regulatory agenda for the FTA.

I just ripped that info straight from the CTA press release.

Trying to remain objective here. Because we here at I-GO have high hopes for the CTA’s ongoing transformation. We just partnered with CTA to create a brand-new joint smart card—the Chicago Card Plus/I-GO Card—that gives you access to trains, buses and I-GO’s citywide fleet of car-sharing vehicles. The idea is to make public transit more expansive and green. We’re fans of any form of sustainable transit that decreases congestion on the roads and CO2 in our skies.

Any opinions out there on how the CTA and I-GO might further perpetuate this agenda? We’d love to hear from you. Just click on the Comments link below and give us your two cents.