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Public Transportation and the Environment

Public transportation helps reduce the carbon footprint, alleviate congestion, increase public safety, and generate economic savings.

Reducing carbon emissions

  • U. S. bus transit, which has about a quarter (28%) of its seats occupied on average, emits an estimated 33% lower greenhouse gas emissions per passenger mile than the average U.S. single-occupancy vehicle.
  • Communities that invest in public transit reduce the nation’s carbon emissions by 37 million metric tons annually.
  • Public transportation reduces emissions by facilitating higher density development, which conserves land and decreases the distances people need to travel to reach destinations.

Alleviating Congestion

  • During high traffic times, a bus of seated passengers carries more people than a one block-long traffic jam.
  • When people take the bus to rural areas like Hood River, they reduce the need for parking and help lessen traffic in our small towns and cities.

Increasing Public Safety

  • A person can reduce his or her chance of being in an accident by more than 90 percent simply by taking public transit as opposed to commuting by car.
  • Traveling by public transportation is 10 times safer per mile than traveling by automobile.

Generating economic savings

  • The average household spends 16 cents of every dollar on transportation, and 92% of this goes to buying, maintaining, and operating cars, the largest expenditure after housing.
  • A household can save nearly $10,000 by taking public transportation and living with one less car.
Sources and further reading:

Oregon Transportation Plan (Oregon Department of Transportation)

Benefits of Public Transportation (Oregon Department of Transportation)