Benefits of Public Transportation
- Ensures Safety
Public transportation continues to be one of the safest modes of travel in the United States. In fact, riding a transit bus is 91 times safer than car travel. Transit vehicle operators are highly trained to anticipate and avoid problems. Most transit vehicles are larger, newer and more substantial than autos or vans.
- Saves Money
For every $10 million invested in public transportation, more than $15 million is saved in transportation costs to both highway and public transportation users.
According to the American Automobile Association, the estimated cost of driving a single-occupant vehicle is between $4,826 (for a small car) and $9,685 (for a large car), depending upon mileage. By contrast, the annual average cost for public transportation for one adult ranges from $200 to $2,000, depending upon mileage, time of day, type of vehicle or service.
- Eases Traffic Congestion
Nearly half of all Americans believe traffic is a serious problem where they live. Most (57 percent) do not feel their commute will improve over the next three years, and nearly a quarter expect to spend more time commuting. Public transportation helps to alleviate our nation's crowded network of roads by providing transportation choices.
- Improves Air Quality
Public transportation helps promote cleaner air by reducing automobile use, which can exacerbate smog and public health problems. For each mile traveled, fewer pollutants are emitted by transit vehicles than by a single-passenger automobile. (Buses emit 80 percent less carbon monoxide than a car.)
Each year, public transportation use avoids the emission of more than 126 million pounds of hydrocarbons, a primary cause of smog, and 156 million pounds of nitrogen oxides, which can cause respiratory disease.
- Reduces Energy Consumption
Public transportation can significantly reduce dependency on gasoline, reducing auto fuel consumption by 1.5 billion gallons annually. For example, a person who commutes 60 miles each way daily could save an estimated 1,888 gallons of gasoline every year by switching from using a car to using public transportation.
- Stimulates Economic Development
A transit coalition report, Dollars & Sense: The Economic Case for Public Transportation in America found that every dollar taxpayers invest in public transportation generates $6 or more in economic returns.
- Fosters More Livable Communities
Public transportation facilities and corridors are natural focal points for economic and social activities. These activities help create strong neighborhood centers that are more economically stable, safe and productive.
Studies have shown that the ability to travel in an area conveniently, without a car, is an important component of a community's livability. Public transportation provides opportunity, access, choice and freedom, all of which contributes to an improved quality of life.