In honor of Earth Day today, I found an article about the environmental and societal benefits of public transportation. There are a great deal of reasons why public transportation is important to people and the environment. Most obviously, it helps reduce the amount of cars on the road which alleviates traffic congestion and positively impacts air quality and noise according to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).New technology is improving the types of buses on the roads which has caused transit agencies to switch to purchasing more alternative fuel vehicles. The EPA considers alternative fuels to include ethanol, natural gas, propane, hydrogen, biodiesel, electricity, methanol, and p-series fuels. Although classified as an alternative fuel, some may not reduce emissions for specific pollutants. Some biodiesel blends may not lead to desired NOx reductions (TxDOT 2007).
Over the past 10 years there has been a significant increase of buses using alternative fuels. In 2000, only 9% of bus fleets nationwide used alternative fuels, and in 2009 it had increased to 29% (Jerpi 2011). Big changes are often seen in the big cities but it’s not only the cities with developed public transit systems- smaller cities are getting involved in alternative fuel vehicles as well. Demographics play a big part in a city’s transportation system because a portion of the population will always benefits from public transportation (Jerpi 2011). Public transportation can mold the culture of a city and helps people connect to one another. There are many benefits from public transportation including the environmental impacts, societal benefits and driver benefits including the reduced travel time and out-of-pocket costs to commuters in congested areas.
Edited by Matt Berggren
TxDOT 2007: http://www.regionalserviceplanning.org/coordination/documents/white_papers/alt_fuels_03-2007.pdf
Jerpi 2011: http://source.southuniversity.edu/environmental-benefits-of-public-transportation-31178.aspx