This past April, the U.S. Department of Transportation launched a $1.5 billion program to invest in infrastructure. This program supplies grants to fund for roads, bridges, rail, ports, or intermodal transportation (1). The use of such systems is very useful for the many benefits they provide when they have the right structure. There are advantages to keeping these systems and the choice to keep them going depend on what factors are important to people.
One of the appealing advantages that public transportation offers is the cost efficiency. These systems are made to have cheap costs compared to driving a vehicle. To put this in perspective, let’s compare the prices of each for a month in Chicago (a city with one of the best public transportation systems in the US). The cost of a 30-day pass in Chicago would amount to $105 (2). This would be very efficient since these passes are unlimited and would just be like a monthly bill. For a year, this would come to a cost of $1,260 for one person. Unlike this relatively low bill, owning a car has a lot more responsibility. For starters, there’s the cost of the car which can range greatly depending on the type of car. Car insurance, maintenance, fluctuating cost of gas, and parking costs would also push the cost of owning a car up (3). This is one factor that appeals to those who wish to keep this system alive.
With many vehicles on the road, the number of air pollutants continues to steadily increase. By choosing to use public transportation, this number won’t rise at such a high rate. A typical public bus would emit only a small 20% as much carbon monoxide per passenger mile than a single-occupant vehicle (4). That means that it takes five buses to equal the amount of carbon monoxide a single vehicle would create. This shows the great advantage of public transit as it is beneficial to the environment than having a car.
Lastly, increasing public transit would benefit the community as the amount of traffic would decrease along with the economic boost it brings. Buses, trains, and other forms of public transit can replace hundreds of cars which would lessen the amount of traffic (3). With less traffic on the roads, that would mean less travel time. Public transit also aids the community with the economic benefits. All those modes of transport need trained drivers which would provide a boost in jobs. According to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), more than 50,000 jobs are created with every $1 billion investment in this sector (5). This boost in the economy provides more opportunities for the people living there.
As young adults in today’s society, getting around in a city for work or school is an essential factor in life. Many young adults already are faced with balancing school on top of work and their own personal lives, so transportation shouldn’t be a problem that is forced upon them. That is why the public transport sector shouldn’t be a missing part of the future of this country’s infrastructure. Increasing awareness of the benefits offered by this would benefit the people, economy, and environment of a community. Expanding said systems would only expand the benefits offered.
(1) “BUILD Discretionary Grants.” US Department of Transportation, United States Department of Transportation, 2 Mar. 2012, http://www.transportation.gov/BUILDgrants.
(2) “Fare Information.” CTA, http://www.transitchicago.com/fares/.
(3) Belter, Torsten, et al. “Advantages and Disadvantages of Free Public Transport Services.” EnercitEE, June 2013, enercitee.eu/Newsletter,76/Issue-VII–June-2013,1074/EnercitEE-Publicity-material,1079/#top.
(4) “Division of Air and Waste Management.” Dune Protection and Improvement, http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/dwhs/info/Pages/OzonePublicTrans.aspx.
(5) “Public Transportation Benefits.” American Public Transportation Association, http://www.apta.com/mediacenter/ptbenefits/Pages/default.aspx.