1000 Friends advocates for transportation options that are clean, equitable and cost effective. We believe that a disproportionate focus on automobiles has encouraged sprawl, unsustainable land use patterns and contributed to transportation being the largest source of climate changing carbon emissions in the United States. 

Our goal is to move Wisconsin towards a balanced, cost-effective, equitable transportation system that discourages sprawl and accelerates the decarbonization of the transportation sector. 

We use a combination of strategies to reach these goals, including:

  • conducting original research,
  • providing resources,
  • creating policy solutions,
  • offering guidance,
  • educating and engaging community members,
  • leading working groups,
  • being active in coalitions,  and
  • working with lawmakers.

Visit our Rethink 794 website to learn more about rethinking I-794 in Milwaukee as a surface-level boulevard that would reconnect Downtown and the Third Ward.

Check out the Community Transportation Academy, designed to help bridge the gap between community advocates and transportation planning entities.

Visit our Active Wisconsin website to learn about our statewide group of multidisciplinary partners and community-based coalitions working together to build an equitable and sustainable active transportation system for all.

Transportation and Climate Change

Transportation is now the largest and fastest growing source of carbon emissions in the United States. We must focus on reducing emissions now in order to help prevent disastrous climate change. We must work to build a future that includes accessible, clean, and affordable transportation options available to everyone in our communities. 

Electric car
An electric vehicle being displayed during National Drive Electric Week in Madison. Image: MG&E.

We are at the forefront of fighting for an equitable carbon-neutral transportation future. We offer guidance, research and policy solutions to help mitigate climate change. Here are some of the local, state and region-wide efforts that we are involved in: 

  • Wisconsin Climate Table – a group of over 30 non-profits fighting to reduce carbon emissions in the state. 
  • Transportation working group of the Dane County Climate Council – a team of experts and stakeholders created an ambitious carbon reduction plan for the County. 
  • “Equitable Deep Decarbonizationwe are a member of REAMP – a group of over 150 non-profits working to reduce climate change emissions in 7 Midwestern States. 
  • The Governor’s Task Force on Climate Changeproviding transportation data and strategies to assist in developing a strategy to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change in Wisconsin.


Learn more about our Climate Change work.

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Transportation and Land Use


Our natural landscape has been transformed by mega highways. Hills flattened, farms removed and wetlands drained are direct results of the highway construction that has extended the reach of the modern commute. Consequently, new housing developments and shopping malls have been created atop former farm fields dismantling many existing communities. 

This disproportionate focus on cars has led to sprawl and unsustainable land use patterns. An effective and balanced transportation system that combines multiple methods of travel, including automobiles, public transit, bicycles and pedestrian walkways must be achieved in order to keep our communities compact and protect our natural resources. 

We advocate for land use and transportation policies that encourage walking and biking in Wisconsin. We provide research and education on the benefits of public transportation in an effort to build support for increased investment in these systems.

Learn more.

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Transportation and Healthy Communities 

On the bus looking out the window at bikers

Multiple transportation options give people the opportunity to find good jobs, remain healthy, and build a vibrant economic and social community. By balancing the types of transportation in a community, we allow the greatest number of people to flow from one location to another. This creates less reliance on any one mode of transportation and makes travel easier and more efficient. Good transit connects people to jobs, saves money and decreases air pollution. Communities that have good multi-modal transportation infrastructure are healthier, more equitable and more economically viable. 

We believe that healthy communities need reliable high-quality transit, walking and bicycling options. Our goal is to promote the creation of a transportation system that gives people many options to travel. We aim to increase funding for public transit, pedestrian and bike pathways, and the repair and maintenance of local roads. 

We want to overturn the ban on Regional Transit Authorities (RTAs) to allow local communities to have greater control over their transportation futures and provide more reliable transportation options for the workforce. Taking a regional approach to public transportation will open up previously inaccessible jobs to people, help communities maintain a high quality of life and help attract new employers. Read more about RTAs.

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Transportation Equity

Transportation is vital.  It connects people to jobs, healthcare, healthy food, school and more. For people who aren’t able to drive, can’t afford to drive or do not want to drive, getting from point A to point B can be expensive, burdensome and even impossible. 

Equitable transportation is the idea that everyone in a community, regardless of their age, race or economic status has equal opportunity to get around. Unjust transportation planning in the U.S. has historically led to segregated communities. These communities often have higher traffic crash rates, poor access to goods and services and high incidences of diseases from airborne pollution. 

People waiting for the bus

Our goal is to combat systematic policy measures that even today perpetuate these outcomes by partnering with community members who are particularly at risk to ensure that they are heard at the decision-making table. We provide research and policy expertise to highlight discrimination in transportation planning policy and identify areas of improvement. Read more about Transportation Equity.

Here are some of the local, state, regional and national efforts that we are involved in: 

  • Coalition for More Responsible Transportation in Wisconsin
  • Equity workgroups.
  • Transportation Forums across the state.
  • Wisconsin Climate Table’s leadership team – a network of over 30 non-profits working to tackle climate change in the state. We encouraged the table to apply a racial and environmental justice lens across all their campaigns.  


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Balanced Transportation Spending

For decades, Wisconsin has spent billions of dollars on massive highway mega-projects, which has left the current transportation fund insolvent.  Wisconsin continues to spend billions of dollars on new highway expansion projects that in addition to harming communities will likely be underused due to changing technology and demographics. This has left very little funding available for local roads and public transportation, which are in increasingly poor shape. 

mega highway

Currently, the majority of our transportation budget is spent on major highway expansions. 

Stopping these expansions would free up over $1 billion that can be used to fix our crumbling local roads, provide quality transit service and create great biking and walking infrastructure.

Healthy communities are built for people, not just cars. Our vision is to increase transportation funding at the state level for transit, walking and biking infrastructure, while also maintaining our local road and highway network. We work on transportation policy at the state and local level to encourage investment in public transportation, bike and pedestrian infrastructure, while fighting against unneeded highway expansion.  

We use a combination of strategies that include raising community awareness, creating policy briefs, carrying out original research and working with lawmakers to move our goals forward. 

We are involved in The Coalition for More Responsible Transportation, a group of non-profits, faith-based organizations, and volunteers working on several items worth fighting for including; Regional Transit Authorities (RTA’s) and increased transit funding. The Coalition makes its voice heard through call-in days, media work, and meetings with legislators.

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Research & Reports

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Local Road Conditions – Interactive Map

Local roads map

Rethink 794 ↗

Visit our Rethink 794 website to learn more about rethinking I-794 in Milwaukee as a surface-level boulevard that would reconnect Downtown and the Third Ward.

Active Wisconsin ↗

Visit our Active Wisconsin website to learn about our statewide group of multidisciplinary partners and community-based coalitions working together to build an equitable and sustainable active transportation system for all.

Community Transportation Academy ↗

Check out the Community Transportation Academy, designed to help bridge the gap between community advocates and transportation planning entities.