Public transportation is a safe and affordable way to commute that saves energy, reduces traffic congestion and helps the environment. It has many benefits for individuals and communities:
- Saves you money: According to “The Transit Savings Report,” a monthly report issued by the American Public Transportation Association, public transportation users can save an average of $764 per month, or about $9,167 annually. (Based on a national average gas price of $2.628 and monthly unreserved parking space cost of $154.23.) See how much you can save using public transportation.
- Helps protect the environment: Automobile emissions contribute to smog, global warming and public health problems. By helping to reduce the number of cars on the road, public transportation offers many benefits to the environment:
- Cars account for about 50 percent of air pollution nationwide. Each year, public transportation use avoids the emission of more than 126 million pounds of hydrocarbons, the primary cause of smog, and 156 million pounds of nitrogen oxides, which can cause respiratory disease.
- Public transit vehicles emit fewer pollutants than single-passenger automobiles. For example, buses emit 80 percent less carbon monoxide than a car. Rail emits almost none.
- Public transportation helps reduce dependence on foreign oil, reducing auto fuel consumption by 1.5 billion gallons annually. Many U.S. transit systems are continuing to invest in compressed natural gas, low-sulfur burning buses or diesel-electric hybrid buses.
- Learn more about public transportation and the environment.
- Reduces traffic congestion: Traffic conditions are already bad. But if it wasn’t for public transportation, roadways would be completely overwhelmed. About 30,000 passengers can be carried on a single U.S. subway line in one hour. If those riders drove instead, 10 additional highway lanes would be needed. Consider that if every American who takes public transit to work drove alone, they would fill a nine-lane freeway from Boston to Los Angeles.
- Offers convenience and easy access. There are currently more than 7,700 organizations that provide public transportation in the United States.
- Saves energy: Our energy consumption affects everything from the price at the pump to national security. And Americans use more energy for transportation than anything else. Public transit is twice as fuel efficient as automobiles and saves more than 45 million barrels of oil a year—equivalent to the energy used to heat, cool and operate one quarter of all American homes annually.
- Safer than driving: Trips on public transportation result in 200,000 fewer deaths, injuries and accidents than similar trips made by car. The National Safety Council estimates that riding the bus is over 170 times safer than traveling by automobile.9 View public transportation safety tips.
- Strengthens communities and improves livability. Public transportation creates corridors that become natural focal points for economic and social activities. These activities help create strong neighborhood centers that are more economically stable, safe and productive. At the same time, public transportation improves a community’s livability by enabling people to travel conveniently without using a car.
- Increases property values. Studies have shown greater increases in the value of properties located near public transportation systems than in similar properties not located near public transportation. 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.
- Helps communities. Americans living in areas served by public transportation save 646 million hours in travel time and 398 million gallons of fuel annually just through reduced traffic congestion. Without public transportation, congestion costs would have been an additional $13.7 billion.