We admit we’re a little biased when it comes to public transportation—we can name many things to be excited about. And with Americans using public transportation more today than any other time since 1956, it’s safe to say we’re not the only ones who enjoy it.
But there’s a lot more to love about public transportation than simply having a safe and inexpensive way to get around. In fact, there are reasons to support public transportation even if you’ve never boarded a bus. Here are four reasons to fall in love—maybe even all over again:
1. Public transportation grows communities. When public transit thrives, so do communities. It positively impacts businesses and real estate property values. For every dollar communities invest in public transportation, approximately $4 is generated in economic returns. As for businesses, every $10 million in capital investment in public transit yields $30 million in increased business sales. Individuals benefit too—residential properties located near public transportation perform 42 percent better that those lacking this local benefit. It’s an economic win all around.
2. Public transportation creates jobs. The bus doesn’t just get you to and from work. Simply ensuring public transportation options are available can impact the workforce. In fact, every $1 billion invested in the U.S. transportation infrastructure supports and creates some 47,500 jobs. Businesses located near public transit services see improved productivity through better employee reliability and less absenteeism and turnover. It’s also important to note that public transit allows for better access to more jobs, which ensures employers have larger, more diverse talent pools to hire from.
3. Public transportation helps the environment. If you’re looking for ways to live a more “green” lifestyle, then developing a crush on public transportation can help. A private auto produces 0.96 pounds of carbon dioxide per passenger-mile, while public transit (averaged out among bus, heavy rail, light rail, commuter rail, and van pools) yields 0.45 pounds per passenger-mile. It’s been estimated that public transit saves America 37 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year, while also saving the U.S. 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline every year.
4. Public transportation contributes to improved health. The time you spend in your car may be detrimental your health. According to a recent study, long commutes are linked to obesity, depression, and even divorce. Riding the bus or train also helps to increase physical activity. Public transit users take 30 percent more steps per day than non-transit users. This helps to fights obesity and even saves you money in obesity-related medical costs. Plus fewer emissions make for cleaner air for all of us to breathe, specifically those with asthma or other respiratory challenges.
Are you feeling the love yet? Before you run out to your nearest bus stop, remember that reaping and increasing the benefits of public transportation depends on the investment we are willing to make. Spread the word about how much you love public transportation.
What do you love most about public transportation?