Lowell, MA: Built Capital
While Lowell’s most iconic buildings are its historic textile mills, the city’s most practical built capital is the Gallagher Transit Terminal. The terminal houses an MBTA station and bus transfer center. Since the T goes to Boston’s North Station, the terminal is a popular park-and-ride stop for people in Lowell and the surrounding areas. Another perk is the Dunkin Donuts in the lobby, where locals can grab an iced coffee before riding the T to the Celtics game.
Public transportation is a greener, and often times more affordable, way of getting around. Though 70% of Lowell’s residents work outside of Lowell, only 3.5% use public transportation. About 75% of residents drive to work alone, which is shocking considering the city’s range of transportation options. (US Census Bureau, 2014) In addition to the MBTA line, the city has a system of buses which travel around and outside of Lowell. This is incredibly helpful for students who attend UMASS Lowell, people with disabilities that keep them from driving, and people who can’t afford to buy a car.
A CBO dedicated to Lowell’s transportation system is the federally funded Lowell Regional Transport Authority (LRTA).The Authority is responsible for developing, financing, and contracting transportation services in Lowell and the surrounding communities. In addition to serving the community, the LRTA is committed to environmental responsibility. The organization emphasizes the ecological benefits of public transportation and is in the process of implementing green initiatives, such as a hybrid electric bus fleet. Without the LRTA, Lowell’s transportation system wouldn’t be possible.
Lowell Regional Transit Authority (2016) Gone Green. About LRTA. Retrieved from http://lrta.com/
US Census Bureau (2014) Commuting Characteristics By Sex. American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. Retrieved from http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?src=CF