Steven Higashide

Director, Clean Transportation Program

headshot of Steven Higashide
Media Contact

Steven Higashide is the director of the Clean Transportation program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. In this role, he oversees a team of technical experts, policy advocates, and campaign staff working to reduce climate emissions and air pollution from our transportation system, while improving community health and transportation equity. He has extensive experience working with a wide range of stakeholders including frontline and scientific communities, as well as policy leaders and members of the media.

Prior to joining UCS, Mr. Higashide served as director of research for TransitCenter, a New-York-based foundation that supports innovations in urban transportation across the country. At TransitCenter, he directed research on a variety of topics, including American attitudes toward public transit, the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on transportation systems, and how to measure the equity of transit service. He developed policy guides and workshops to help cities enact transit-supportive policy and advised the National Campaign for Transit Justice, a network of dozens of local transit advocacy organizations. Before that, he was senior planner for the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, where he watchdogged Connecticut state transportation policy and helped pass laws protecting transportation funding and vulnerable road users.

Mr. Higashide is the author of the 2019 book Better Buses, Better Cities and a contributor to publications including The Atlantic, Governing, and The New Republic. His research and insight have been widely cited by mainstream and industry media, including the Chicago Tribune, New York Times, Washington Post, Wired, and Vox. He holds a BA from New York University in metropolitan studies, and a master’s in urban planning from New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

Selected publications

Higashide, S. 2023. Never Again is Now: The Transportation Professions' Responsibility to Work Toward Justice. In R. Reft, A. Phillips de Lucas, R. Retzlaff (Eds.), Justice and the Interstates: The Racist Truth about Urban Highways (pp. 175-191). Island Press.

Buchanan, M., Cruz, J., Dean, B., Grimshaw, J., Higashide, S., Persaud, H., Rivera, N., & Shankar, P. 2021. Equity in Practice: A Guidebook for Transit Agencies. TransitCenter and Center for Neighborhood Technology.

Higashide, S., Richardson, R., Fried, B., Fleming, B., Mangan, E., & Goldstein, S. 2020. A Green New Deal for Urban and Suburban Transportation. TransitCenter, Transportation for America, and the Ian McHarg Center.

Higashide, S. 2019. Better Buses, Better Cities: How to Plan, Run, and Win the Fight for Effective Transit. Island Press.

Higashide, S. 2012. Biking and Walking: Fewer Funds, Greater Local Control, Planning & Environmental Law, 64:10, 9-11.