Rapid Growth MediaGrand Rapids, Mich. Pop. 193,627
The transit system in Grand Rapids, known fondly as The Rapid, is like an eco-catchprase come to life. Green building? Check, in the form of a LEED-certified central terminal. Green jobs? Yep, expansion is expected to create 1,200 of them in the short-term, with about 400 being permanent. Transit-oriented development? You betcha: That LEED terminal has helped inspire $74 million of development in a three-block radius. Plus the system boasts super-friendly Midwest benefits like a shuttle in the ‘burbs that takes riders to the nearest bus stop. OK, OK — so maybe walkability is the one eco-catchphrase that hasn’t caught on yet.
This list was created by Jonathan Hiskes and Katharine Wroth. Thanks are due to the American Public Transportation Association, Environmental Defense, Planetizen, and Reconnecting America for their suggestions, information, and advice.