Join the Movement

Members of Voices for Public Transit know public transportation benefits everyone. We’re keeping it moving.

Join the Movement

Members of Voices for Public Transit know public transportation benefits everyone. We’re keeping it moving.

Public Transportation Matters

Explore the Benefits of Public Transit—Now and in the Future

Public transit benefits every American—even if you don’t ride. It contributes to our economy, helps our environment, and connects people to jobs, education, and their communities.

  • Economic Benefits

    Economic Benefits

    Public transportation helps move the economy for the benefit of all Americans. In communities around the nation, transit systems ease traffic congestion, connect people with jobs and opportunities, and save consumers billions of dollars every year in commuting costs.

    Keeping Our Economy Moving

    Public Transportation Helps Create a Brighter Economic Future

    Investment in public transportation:

    • Creates jobs
    • Provides access to jobs
    • Revitalizes business districts and neighborhoods
    • Enables employers to tap a larger workforce
    • Boosts commerce
    • Saves money on infrastructure costs for taxpayers

    Public transportation helps the American economy — in many, many ways. It enables millions of Americans to reach work affordably. It brings consumers to shopping districts. And it eases traffic congestion, which speeds commerce. But public transportation does much more for local economies all around the nation.

    Creating Jobs

    Public transportation puts people to work. It directly employs nearly 400,000 people. Indirectly, it creates hundreds of thousands of private-sector jobs.

    Public Transit Attracts Investment

    In regions across the country, billions of dollars have been invested in business districts, residential communities, office buildings, and sports facilities along transit lines.

    During the last recession, the value of residential properties near public transportation with high-frequency service performed 42 percent better than properties lacking such service.

    Saving on Infrastructure Costs

    Investment in public transportation shifts people away from their cars — and this translates into substantial infrastructure savings for communities around the nation.

    Because of public transportation, municipalities spend less on paving, road building, and utility extensions. This frees up valuable government resources for education, safety, and social services.

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  • Access and Affordability


    Public transportation benefits all of us, but for millions of Americans, it’s a necessity. It is the primary—or only—transportation option for people who cannot drive or do not have access to private vehicles. Affordable public transit enables people to reach work, access health care, and attend school, which makes our communities stronger overall.

    Keeping People Connected

    Public Transportation Provides Vital Connections for Millions of Americans We all benefit because public transit eases pollution and traffic congestion. It also makes our communities stronger by providing a lifeline for millions of Americans who can’t or don’t drive. Every day, people make connections, reach jobs, and access medical care by riding public transit.

    A Critical Link

    Our communities benefit when everyone can make connections. Even if you don’t ride, public transportation enables others to reach work and strengthen your community.

    Public transit also provides a key link for people who cannot travel by private car. For more than 51 million Americans with disabilities, public transportation enables mobility—and self-sufficiency. Eighty-three percent of older Americans say public transit provides them with access to the necessities of everyday life.

    Connections for Small Cities and Rural America

    Public transportation also connects rural residents and people in smaller cities to larger urban commercial centers and services. Many public transit systems serving rural Americans provide special “demand” services that route buses directly to rural passengers.

    While public transit provides a lifeline to hundreds of smaller communities, a lack of transportation options still limits many rural residents’ access to higher education and job opportunities. Unfortunately, special funding for small urban and rural area public transportation programs has stagnated since 2009.

    Federal Funding for Small Urban and Rural Transit Has Flat-Lined

    Public transportation offers mobility options for millions of Americans. However, for residents of small urban and rural areas, access to public transit still needs to be greatly expanded. Nearly two-thirds of all residents in these communities have few transportation options. Read more.

    Money in Your Pocket

    Public transportation helps consumers save!

    • Taking public transportation rather than driving saves families an average of $800+ each month, and more than $9,700 annually.
    • Downtown parking costs an average of $1,995 annually.
    • 94 percent of the average American household’s transportation expenses go toward buying, maintaining, and operating cars.

    Public transit—including light rail, buses, and high-speed trains—is far more energy efficient than travel by airplane or car. And all forms of public transportation use less space to move more people. This translates into a smaller environmental footprint, leaving space for neighborhoods and communities to thrive.

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  • Environmental Benefits


    When people use public transportation, we have healthier communities. In fact, using public transportation provides greater benefits for our air and water than adopting energy-efficient lighting, switching to an energy-efficient refrigerator, and weatherizing your home—combined.

    Keeping Our Air and Water Clean

    Public Transportation Helps Create a Healthier Future

    One of the most effective ways to help our environment is by increasing the use of public transportation and making it available to more people. We all share the benefits of cleaner air—even if we don’t use public transit personally. Reducing Fuel Consumption and Pollution

    All forms of public transportation are more energy efficient than cars. Every day, people using public transportation save the equivalent of 900,000 fill-ups of gas.

    Public transit has invested in innovative clean technologies and fuels, including biofuels, hydrogen fuel cells, and hybrid vehicles. Overall, public transportation reduces our nation’s carbon emissions by 37 million metric tons annually.

    By expanding public transportation around our nation, combined with smart land use and consumer education, we can reduce our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions even further. America reduces its dependence on foreign oil by more than 4 billion gallons of gasoline every year because of public transportation.

    “The investment in public transit not only produces green jobs but also provides for a more sustainable transportation system that will help reduce our dependence on foreign oil and lessen the transportation sector’s impact on the environment.”

    — William W. Millar, Past President, American Public Transportation Association.

    Read more.

    Read more.

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  • Quality of Life


    Public transit helps communities thrive. Light rail, buses, and high-speed trains connect people more efficiently to shopping, jobs, and services, which translates into greater productivity. People enjoy less traffic congestion, cleaner air, and space for growing neighborhoods and businesses.

    Keeping Our Communities Strong

    Public Transit Improves the Quality of Life Across America

    Public transit benefits cities and suburbs, small towns and rural America. On-demand buses drive country roads, picking up passengers and bringing them home again. Light rail and commuter trains connect city centers with suburbs and outlying towns. Public transit brings America together.

    Benefits for Non-Riders

    Even if you don’t use public transportation, you benefit from it every day. Public transit results in less air pollution, and it alleviates congested streets and highways. Even if you don’t ride, you’re often helped by people—at your grocery store, your health clinic, your bank, your school—who get to work on public transit.

    Public transit also helps make communities more attractive by minimizing sprawl, creating recreational and entertainment districts, and enabling more housing options.

    Healthy Living

    Public transit also supports healthy lifestyles. People who use public transportation walk more, which improves fitness and reduces the risk of developing obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. The cleaner air in communities with public transit contributes to lower incidence of asthma, lung cancer, and other diseases. Public transit also reduces isolation, especially for older Americans and people with disabilities.

    High-quality public transit, combined with wider sidewalks and pedestrian crossings, makes streets safer as well. And riding public transit means you’re less likely to be injured or killed in a car accident.

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  • Future Growth


    Public transportation is important today—and it will be even more critical as our nation grows to more than 400 million people in the coming decades. We need affordable, accessible public transit to connect people to their jobs, services, and their larger communities. America’s future is riding on public transit.

    Keeping America Moving Tomorrow

    America’s Public Transportation System is Building for the Future

    Our future is riding on public transit. Today, public transportation provides benefits to thousands of communities and serves millions of people every day. In the future, it will be even more vital.

    Over the next four decades, our nation’s population is expected to increase by nearly one-third, to more than 400 million people. How will people commute to work and travel across the country as our nation’s roads and highways age and grow more congested?

    Public Transportation is the Solution

    Our large, diverse nation benefits from a wide array of interconnected public transportation systems. And to meet the needs of our growing population, we need to extend the benefits of public transportation even further in the coming years.

    How Much Can We Save?

    Today, the estimated annual cost of traffic congestion on our nation’s highways and runways is $130 billion. Improvements in public transit will help fight the costs of clogged streets and highways.

    Local Transit for Stronger Communities

    Suburban areas and small towns with transit zones are thriving across the country. Renewed investment in public transportation will transform many more communities, creating vibrant commercial districts, walkable streets, and accessible jobs. Public transportation spurs private investment and economic development. Transit investments can be a catalyst for affordable housing, entertainment districts, and commercial activity.

    A New Era of Greener, Faster Transportation

    In recent years, our nation has embarked on a bold program to bring high-speed rail to millions of Americans in the coming decades. High-speed rail produces significantly lower emissions than comparable car or air travel.

    In addition, buses will increasingly use renewable and cleaner energy sources than gasoline. Already more than 36 percent of public transit buses use alternative fuels.

    Growth Technologies for Buses

    • All-electric and hybrid diesel-electric power
    • Regenerative braking and energy storage
    • Biofuels
    • Natural gas engines
    • Hydrogen fuel cells
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