The Case for Public Transportation, in Infographic Form

A new chart details what we save when we take the train or bus.

Image
Courtesy: Credit Donkey

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This would make a great poster. Last week the Sustainable Cities Collective posted a terrific, poster-sized graphic highlighting the benefits of public transportation to individuals and to society. The very well-made display was created, somewhat improbably, by Boris at Credit Donkey, a website whose primary function seems to be to explicate the world of credit cards to consumers. The graphic is based on research by Kelly Teh.

The link between an environmental cause and a site primarily devoted to credit cards is, I suppose, household expenses. Taking transit saves household expenses. We should enlarge and frame this, and put it on one of the incredibly blank walls (that's another story) in our offices here at NRDC:

Teh's article on Credit Donkey explains her reasoning:

As I was riding the DC Metro a couple of weeks ago, I was reminded of the metro tickets I keep as mementos of places I’ve traveled: San Francisco’s BART, Atlanta’s MARTA, and New York City’s subway system. That got me thinking about stories of families who’ve saved a bundle by becoming one-car (or no-car) households ...

According to RITA Bureau of Transportation’s statistics on average fuel efficiency and distance traveled to work (10 miles each way), the average daily work commute costs about $2.25 each way in a car compared to $1.02 for the average public transit fare—nearly half price.

The cost savings alone could justify using public transit, not to mention the health benefits. APTA claims public transportation offers cleaner air with 95% less carbon monoxide and nearly 50% less carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide per passenger mile than a private vehicle does.

There's much more, but it's all in the graphic. Enjoy. Props to Kelly and Boris for doing it.

This post originally appeared on the NRDC's Switchboard blog.

About the Author

  • Kaid Benfield is the director of the Sustainable Communities and Smart Growth program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, co-founder of the LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system, and co-founder of Smart Growth America. More
    Kaid Benfield is the director of the Sustainable Communities and Smart Growth program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, co-founder of the LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system, and co-founder of Smart Growth America. He is the author or co-author of Once There Were Greenfields (NRDC 1999), Solving Sprawl (Island Press 2001), Smart Growth In a Changing World (APA Planners Press 2007), and Green Community (APA Planners Press 2009). In 2009, Kaid was voted one of the "top urban thinkers" on Planetizen.com, and he was named one of "the most influential people in sustainable planning and development" in 2010 by the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. He blogs at NRDC's Switchboard.