Thank Public Transit for Your Quick(er) Trip Home: Public Transit Saves Us Hundreds of Millions of Hours a Year

Ever get upset because you got stuck behind a bus while driving your car? Think again. That bus is saving you time. How many people are on that bus? If they were driving, how many cars would be in your way instead?

A new report by the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) finds that public transit saved Americans “646 million hours in travel time and 398 million gallons of fuel” in 2007. The 2009 Urban Mobility Report identifies the great advantages of public transit for everyone, not just those who use it. The report also identifies that the cost of congestion increased in 2007 but that it would have increased considerably more (16%, or, an additional $13.7, from two years before) if it weren’t for public transit.

The study included 439 urban areas. An intuitive conclusion found in the study was that in the places with the best public transit the savings were the greatest.

William Millar, the President of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), states, “Traffic congestion affects everyone. It not only wastes people’s time and money, but it also hurts our country’s economic productivity, makes us consume more gasoline, and damages our environment.” Public transit is a key in the goals to improve our economy and conserve our environment. APTA states that, “Every year, 37 million metric tons of carbon emissions and 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline are saved due to U.S. public transportation use.”

According to the US Department of Energy (DOE)*, transportation is the leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions in the US. If we want to address global climate change, we must change our transportation habits. Take the next bus or subway!

To look at the 2009 Urban Mobility Report, click here.

For more about APTA, click here.

To read more about transportation’s impact on the environment, read “The Hidden Giant #2: Transportation

*U.S. Department of the Environment(DOE)/Energy Information Administration’s(EIA) Office of Integrated Analysis and Forecasting—0573. (2006). Emissions of Greenhouse Gases in the United States, 2005. United States Department of the Environment.

Image credit: caravinagre via flickr under a Creative Commons license

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