Article Type: Report

Transportation and the New Generation

From World War II until just a few years ago, the number of miles driven annually on America’s roads steadily increased. Then, at the turn of the century, something changed: Americans began driving less. By 2011, the average American was driving 6 percent fewer miles per year than in 2004. The trend away from driving has been led by young people.

Trouble in Toyland

The 2011 Trouble in Toyland report is our 26th annual survey of toy safety. In this report, we provide safety guidelines for consumers when purchasing toys for young children and provide examples of toys currently on store shelves that may pose potential safety hazards.

High-Speed Rail: Public Private or Both?

Private sector companies are likely to play a major role in the construction of high-speed rail lines in the United States. Public-private partnerships – or “PPPs” – have come to play an important role in the construction of high-speed rail lines around the world.

Big Banks Bigger Fees: A National Survey of Bank Fees and Fee Disclosure Policies

A survey of more than 350 bank branches reveals that fewer than half of branches obeyed their legal duty to fully disclose fees to prospective customers, while one in four provided no fee information at all. The report also includes a shopping guide, which will compare banking options, direct consumers to free and low-cost checking choices, and provide a list of fees that consumers should look out for when picking a bank.

Growing Up Toxic: Chemical Exposures and Increases in Developmental Disease

A growing body of scientific evidence shows that the widespread use of chemicals in our society harms our health and the health of our children. The incidence of many serious health problems – including premature birth, learning disabilities, behavioral disorders, asthma and allergies, early puberty, obesity, diabetes, reduced fertility, and some types of cancer – shows links with exposure to chemicals that can interfere with the process of growth and development.

Unacceptable Risk: Two Decades of “Close Calls,” Leaks and Other Problems at U.S. Nuclear Reactors

This report analyzes the unacceptable risks of nuclear power to people and the environment, and demonstrates why the United States must move away from nuclear power and toward safer alternatives. The report concludes with recommendations to the Obama Administration for addressing the risks posed by nuclear power, including instituting a moratorium on the relicensing of existing, aging nuclear power plants and on the licensing of new nuclear reactors. This report also calls for the elimination of federal loan guarantees and other subsidies for nuclear power plants.

Toward Common Ground: Bridging the Political Divide to Reduce Spending

Our nation faces unprecedented fiscal challenges, as the commitments we’ve made now and into the future far outpace our fiscal capacity. Congress, the President’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, and citizens across the country must grapple with very difficult decisions about how we can put our fiscal house in order.

A Track Record of Success

As America moves toward construction of new high-speed rail networks in regions throughout the country, we have much to learn from experiences abroad. High-speed rail lines have operated for more than 45 years in Japan and for three decades in Europe, providing a wealth of information about what the United States can expect from high-speed rail and how we can receive the greatest possible benefits from our investment.

A Cover to Cover Solution

The Student PIRGs conducted this study to evaluate options from the traditional textbook market – rentals, e-books and e-readers – and  open textbooks as potential next steps to reduce the high cost of textbooks.  The report finds that student preferences vary widely, and that options like rentals and e-books only appeal to a subset of students.  Open textbooks have the highest potential as a solution because they can meet the needs of all students.