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"What Moves Us": My Introduction to Car-Light Transportation

Updated: May 16, 2023

Pic of Shannon Sullivan, Communications and Development Intern at Green Streets Initiative and MPA Student at Northeastern University
Shannon Sullivan, Communications and Development Intern at Green Streets Initiative

I’m Shannon Sullivan, and I am a first-year Master of Public Administration student at Northeastern University and an intern for Green Streets Initiative. I moved to Boston this past September after having grown up in Westfield, MA, and attending Providence College in Providence, RI, where I studied political science and sociology. After my college graduation in 2021, I served a year with AmeriCorps as a literacy tutor for early elementary students. My service year helped me decide that an MPA is the right degree for me, so I could continue working in the government and nonprofit sectors–it feels so rewarding to help others!

I originally enrolled at Northeastern thinking I wanted to work in the education nonprofit world. Transportation was never an interest of mine. Growing up in Western Mass, I used to get around entirely by car, no matter how close or far the destination was. However, upon moving to Boston, I was thrown into the world of sustainable transportation for the first time. The T became my primary mode of transportation to and from school. I discovered the benefits of separated bike lanes and sidewalks. Moving here showed me that getting from place to place doesn’t have to be exclusively by car – biking, walking, the T, bus, scooter, rideshare, or carpooling are all invaluable and effective modes of travel. I’ve come to realize that I really enjoy taking the train and walking – I haven’t tried biking, but maybe in the future!

Transportation ultimately became one of my favorite policy areas when I started interning with Green Streets on their newly launched What Moves Us projects. I used to be one of the “car-light curious” people that Green Streets works to nudge towards car-light transportation. From the start, working with Green Streets was quite exciting for me because I was eager to learn more about transportation. Green Streets’ work introduced me to the car-light transportation movement in Boston and beyond. I was surprised at how many people love car-light transportation, so much so that they are willing to share their insights with others.

Editing videos, creating web pages, and promoting the What Moves Us program still inspires my appreciation of car-light transportation. I love hearing other people’s perspectives and seeing what a difference these projects really do make, and I can’t wait to continue working on What Moves Us in the future.

I have seen that car-light transportation is a fun, healthy, efficient, and sustainable way to get around. I’m so thankful for Green Streets for helping me discover transportation equity and sustainability. The opportunities here are like none other I have ever experienced before. I still love the idea of education–maybe I’ll end up in both policy areas someday; the two are definitely related!

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