Published On: Wed, Jan 23rd, 2019

4 Important Benefits of Public Transportation

 By Contributing Author

Public transportation is on the decline. Lower gas prices, cheaper loan rates, affordable rideshare options and flexible telework schedules mean a lot more people are skipping mass transit and choosing to take their own cars or just staying home instead. While this trend might seem to indicate an uptick in personal economies, affording citizens the means by which they can supply their own transportation, it’s a major blow to cities wanting to maintain jobs and economic returns, safeguard traffic flow and encourage camaraderie amongst their citizens. Indeed, city governments aren’t the only ones who should be worried. Take a look at four important ways public transportation benefits us and why we should all be concerned its popularity is on the decline:

It Protects the Environment

According to theF Federal Transit Administration, rail systems typically run via electricity (thereby releasing little to no air pollutants), and most buses “use alternative fuels such as compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas or fuel cells which produce fewer pollutants,” as well. Both effectively limit the amount of fuel consumed per person and reduce the amount of greenhouse gases and pollutants released into the air. And if more of us make use of public transit, there is less need of the raw materials to make, and the fuel to power, personal cars.

It Protects People

Riding public transportation is also safer than riding in a car. Bus drivers and rail operators undergo more rigorous training to receive their licenses than private drivers, making them more proficient in their driving skills. In addition, mass transit provides options for elderly and young people who can choose to ride rather than drive themselves, limiting the opportunities they have of getting into wrecks (since their age groups have statistically more accidents than any other). And riding public transit doesn’t just protect us from harm, it also protects our health. It removes the stress of daily driving, improving our mental health, and it forces us to at least walk to a station and expend energy as we stand and/or hold on for stops, increasing our daily level of physical activity.

It Increases Efficiency

Mass transit condenses the number of vehicles needed for commuting by fitting many people into one bus or rail system. This not only conserves fuel and reduces pollution, but it also relieves traffic congestion. Furthermore, municipal governments can allocate valuable resources to cover other concerns since the expenses associated with pollution and traffic concerns are relieved.

It Makes Us Happier

Finally, mass transit makes us happier. It frees up our time to do things we enjoy, like reading and socializing, or catching up on work. Micro survey conducted in Japan even show that just funding mass transit stations increased neighboring homeowners’ levels of happiness. Apparently, knowing that we are protecting ourselves, our environment and our local communities makes us proud…and happy!

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