In honor of Earth Day we recycle below an article from last year (Want to Fight Global Climate Change? Take the Bus, October 6, 2007). Enjoy.
According to a just released report by APTA (American Public Transit Association), the most powerful weapon you can use to combat global climate change may be a daily transit pass. The Study, Public Transportation's Contribution to U.S. Greenhouse Gas Reduction, which was prepared by Science Applications International Corporation for APTA, points out that commuting by public transit is one of the most significant actions a household member can take to reduce their carbon footprint. According to the report:
"New research shows that a person who rides public transportation instead of driving reduces his or her carbon dioxide output, a harmful greenhouse gas, by more than 20 lbs a day and 4,800 lbs annually. That saves more than weatherizing a home, adjusting a thermostat, switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs and replacing older appliances with higher efficiency models, combined. A national climate change strategy that doesn't embrace public transportation has simply missed the bus."
Regarding land use impacts the report says:
"Investments in public transportation have the benefit of supporting higher density land uses that allow for fewer vehicle miles of travel...The results range from a reduction in VMT of between 1.4 miles and 9 miles for every transit passenger mile traveled. The outcome would be more efficient use of roadways, reduced road maintenance, shorter highway commute times and reduced need for street and off- street parking."
APTA is using the report to call on Congress to provide additional funding, to provide additional tax credits to employers who spend resources to support transit ridership programs and to provide tax credits to developers of mixed used transit oriented development projects.
Related Article: Taking Transit: The Most Effective Route to Cutting Carbon, September 27, 2007; Erica Barnett, WorldChanging.
Chris Hamilton is the Commuter Services Chief for Arlington County, manager of CommuterPageBlog and a Metro/biking commuter from Rosemont in Alexandria.