Communities across the country are realizing the green potential of their streets. Streets and sidewalks can be the largest single category of public impervious cover in urbanized areas. To mitigate the impact of this impervious area, a number of communities, including Portland, Seattle, Chicago, and Philadelphia, have developed green street and alley programs to provide green stormwater management, while maintaining the primary function of the street for vehicles and pedestrians.
In Mayor Michael Nutter's January 2008 inaugural address, he pledged to make Philadelphia the number one green city in America. To make good on his pledge, he created the Mayor's Office of Sustainability early in his first term as mayor. The Mayor's Office of Sustainability spent a year researching municipal sustainability, talking with residents, and drafting Greenworks Philadelphia, the City's comprehensive sustainability plan. Greenworks was released in 2009 and is in its fourth year of implementation.
The City of Philadelphia is using hybrid buses to improve air quality and reduce pollution. Between 2009 and 2012, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) purchased 440 hybrid diesel buses. For calendar years 2012 through 2015, SEPTA plans to add 285 new hybrid diesel buses.
Philadelphia began using a private car sharing service to meet the transportation needs of municipal employees in 2003. The City was one of the first in the United States to adopt such a program and reduced the number of cars owned by the City of Philadelphia by 300 vehicles in the first year of the program.