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Transportation & Air Quality

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Low-Carbon Mobility

Light rail in motion on tracksThe rapid increase in development and urban density continuously puts pressure on Tempe’s car-centric culture. Considering transportation accounts for 43% of Tempe’s Community GHG emissions, actions need to be taken to reduce emissions in our transportation network. Enhancing and adding new public transit options will allow people to be connected without single-occupancy vehicles and the associated GHG emissions.


Investments in low-carbon mobility can lead to

  • reduced air pollution

  • reduced health risks associated with vehicle carbon emissions

  • decreased traffic congestion

  • reduced deaths and serious injuries from vehicle crashes (in line with Tempe’s Vision Zero initiative).

Ultimately, investing in public transit leads to an increase in overall quality of life in urban areas. It is instrumental to have a strong public transportation network in a sustainable city to ease congestion and to connect community hubs. Tempe intends to create a multimodal transportation system to support sustainable, accessible, and low-carbon means of travel. 

Transportation performance measures

Carbon Neutrality (4.19)

“Achieve the City Council goal of carbon neutrality in municipal operations by 2050 with a strategy of 100% renewable energy by 2035.”

Baseline (2015) and Current: 40,670 metric tons
Target: Carbon Neutral by 2050

 20-minute city (3.26)

“Achieve a multimodal transportation system (20-minute city) where residents can walk, bicycle or use public transit to meet all basic daily, non-work needs.”

Baseline: under development
Target: under development 
Current: Unavailable

 Traffic Delays (3.27)

“Achieve a 5% decrease in vehicular delays during rush-hour periods along arterial corridors compared to the previous period. (This goal, and historical data, is being researched thru MAG.)”

Baseline: under development
Target: 5%
Current: Unavailable

Satisfaction with Transit System (3.29)

“Achieve ratings of “Very Satisfied” or “Satisfied” with the “Overall Satisfaction with Transit System in Tempe” greater than or equal to 80% as measured by the City of Tempe Transit Survey.”

Baseline: 69% (2016)
Current: 60% 
Target: 80% by 2024

Program Highlight - Tempe Streetcar

Streetcar passing through Mill AvenueThe Tempe Streetcar project is the first modern streetcar line in the Valley. It will connect riders to major destinations in Tempe, the city that already has the highest transit ridership per capita in Arizona. In August 2018, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) approved the initial phase of significant construction to build the system’s rail trackway, power systems, and street improvements. On Nov. 28, 2018, the FTA allocated $75 million through the FTA Capital Investment Grants (CIG) to support the project. The three-mile Streetcar will have 14 stops (including two that will link with the regional Valley Metro Rail system) connecting local community hubs, such as downtown Tempe, Arizona State University, historic neighborhoods, new high-density residential, major employers, and activity centers. The Streetcar will give people another option for traveling around Tempe, supporting Tempe’s goal of a multi-modal transportation system that focuses on moving people – not cars. When the Streetcar begins operation in 2021, Tempe will add another option to our robust multi-modal transit system.

What's Next?

TDM/ TMA in Climate Action Plan

Tempe will continue to pursue Transportation Demand Management (TDM) policy options, including the creation of a Transportation Management Association (TMA). [NA1] 

20-Minute City

Tempe will continue to determine gaps in Tempe’s 20-minute city network and potential ways to improve the City of Tempe’s 20-minute city performance.

Streetcar Extension Feasibility Study

Tempe will collaborate with Valley Metro and City of Mesa to determine potential extensions of the Tempe Streetcar.

City Fleet

Tempe will continue to invest in electric vehicles (EV) and EV charging and is pursuing an EV feasibility study to determine where charging stations can go throughout the city. [YT2] [NA3]

Additional Resources


 Light Rail