Public Transport Reduces Greenhouse Gases and Conserves Energy

Efficient land use produces results far beyond the immediate benefit of increased use of public transport. It has the potential to significantly change the way we live and travel, reducing our individual carbon footprints while preserving and enhancing our mobility.

  • Higher densities allow for closer proximity of housing, employment and retail, reducing driving distances and enabling communities to plan for and support alternative travel options.
  • In many central business districts, trips taken for shopping, dining or other non-commuting purposes are often made on foot — even by those who drive to work.
  • Higher density development, multi-use buildings, and compact apartments and office space — is more energy efficient and extends public transport’s contribution by integrating it with other sectors of our economy.

Public transport with its overarching effects on land use, is estimated to reduce CO2 emissions by 37 million metric tons annually.

This indirect “leverage effect” of public transport is estimated, conservatively, at three to four times the direct effect of transit service. With this leverage effect, transit is estimated to reduce CO2 emissions by 37 million metric tons annually. In addition, public transport reduces energy consumption by the equivalent of 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline each year, the equivalent of 320 million cars filling up — almost 900,000 times a day in the USA.

• Public Transport Reduces Greenhouse Gases and Conserves Energy
Public transport is reducing energy consumption and harmful carbon dioxide (CO2) greenhouse gas emissions that damage the environment.

Travelling by public transport uses less energy and produces less pollution than comparable travel in private vehicles. To make progress in reducing our dependence on foreign oil and impacting climate change, public transport must be part of the solution.

• Public transport use reduces travel by private vehicles
Those who choose to ride public transport reduce their carbon footprint and conserve energy by eliminating travel that would have otherwise been made in a private vehicle. The result is fewer vehicle miles of travel and reduced emissions.

A single person, commuting alone by car, who switches a 20-mile round trip commute to existing public transportation, can reduce his or her annual CO2 emissions by 4,800 pounds per year, equal to a 10% reduction in all greenhouse gases produced by a typical two-adult, two-car household. By eliminating one car and taking public transport instead of driving, a savings of up to 30% of carbon dioxide emissions can be realised.

• Public transport use reduces congestion
Public transport serves some of the most congested travel corridors and regions in the country. Increased use of public transport in these areas eases congestion; as a result, automobiles traveling in these same corridors achieve greater fuel efficiency.

Public transport use is one of the most effective actions individuals can take.

Public transport offers an immediate alternative for individuals seeking to reduce their energy use and carbon footprints. This action far exceeds the benefits of other energy saving household activities, such as using energy efficient light bulbs or adjusting thermostats.

By taking existing public transportation instead of driving a car, a single person saves 4,800 pounds of CO2 per year. Source: Public Transportation’s Contribution to U.S. Greenhouse Gas Reduction.


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