Benefits of Public Transportation

Benefits of Public Transportation (Source 2008 Public Transportation Fact Book)

Public transportation improves the quality of life in communities across the country by providing safe, efficient and economical service. It also serves as a vital component necessary for a healthy economy. Not only does public transit benefit the people who use it, it also benefits society as a whole.

Public Transportation Enhances Personal Opportunities:

  1. Public transportation provides personal mobility and freedom for people from every walk of life.
  2. Public transportation provides access to job opportunities, as well as a transportation option to go to school, visit friends, go shopping, or go to a doctor’s office.

Public Transportation Saves Money

  1. The average household spends 18 cents on transportation, and 94 percent of this goes to buying, maintaining and operating cars.
  2. Public transportation provides an affordable, and for many, necessary alternative to driving.
  3. Americans living in areas served by public transportation save $18 billion annually in congestion costs.
  4. Transit availability can reduce the need for an additional car, a yearly expense of $6,251 in a household budget.

Public Transportation Fosters More Livable Communities

Public transportation facilities and transportation corridors are “natural focal points for communities” that serve to encourage economic and social activities and help create strong neighborhood centers that are economically stable, safe, and productive. When commuters ride public transportation or walk, their contact with neighbors tends to increase, which helps bring a community closer together.

Public transportation has a major impact on land use development patterns. In many situations, improved accessibility can stimulate development location and type. As a strategy in relieving congestion, public transit can be more effective with policies and actions that expand transit oriented development or provide for mixed-use and pedestrian design in development of major public transportation corridors.

Transit-friendly walkable communities reduce reliance on cars and promote higher levels of physical activity. These more traditional settings may generate half the automobile trips of similarly sized modern day suburbs.

Public Transportation Provides Economic Opportunity:

  1. Every $1 invested in public transportation projects generates approximately $6 in local economic activity.
  2. Every $10 million in capital investment in public transportation yields $30 million in increased business sales.
  3. Every $10 million in operating investment in public transportation yields $32 million in increased business sales.
  4. Real estate -- residential, commercial or business that is served by public transportation is valued more highly by the
  5. public than similar properties not as well served by transit.
  6. Public transportation enhances local and state economic growth in many ways, increasing the local customer base for a range of services -- shopping malls, restaurants, medical facilities and other transportation services.

Public Transportation Creates Community Benefits:

  1. Public transportation fosters transit orientated development that provides convenient access to public transportation and integration of transit in the community.
  2. Public transportation encourages land-use programs that generate synergies and create a range of housing types, from single-family homes to apartments, to accommodate diverse incomes and family structures.
  3. Public transportation revitalizes neighborhoods, increases social interaction and pedestrian activity, enhances safety, and helps create a sense of “place” that will help make a community unique and special.
  4. Public transportation generates a financial return for communities and businesses as well as individual and collective savings that can be captured and invested in housing or amenities rather than transportation, parking and auto-orientated infrastructure.
  5. When commuters ride public transportation or walk, contact with neighbors tends to increase, ultimately helping to bring a community together.

Public Transportation Offers Mobility for Seniors

By the year 2025, 20% of the U.S. population will be 65 and over and many will be unable to drive. In fact, one-fifth of persons 65 and older do not drive.

A 2004 AARP/Surface Transportation Policy Project report found that 50% of non-drivers age 65 and older stay home on any given day partially because they lack transportation options. They make 15% fewer trips to doctors and 65% fewer trips for social, family, and religious activities.

Meeting the transportation needs of seniors is a major community objective as well as a national goal. Public transportation services, including regular route service and mini-buses, represent a lifeline for seniors.

The 2005 White House Conference on Aging ranked transportation options for older Americans among the top three priorities facing seniors.