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.

Voices For Transit

We All Benefit

Whether you ride or not, public transportation benefits all of us. It reduces pollution, eases traffic congestion, and helps our communities thrive. In cities, suburbs, and rural America, public transit provides vital connections to jobs, education, medical care, and our larger communities. Help us keep America moving.

  • Public Transit Supports Personal Independence

    For the July 4 holiday, we looked at how public transit broadly supports the freedom of movement — a right protected under the Constitution — and mobility independence.

    Today, Voices for Public Transit advocates are sharing their own stories of how a comprehensive public transportation system supports their personal mobility. The fact is, public transportation supports independent living for many Americans who can’t drive or don’t have access to a car.

    Public Transportation Keeps Us Moving

    Many public transit advocates or their family members use public transportation to overcome challenges and lead fuller lives. Here are just a few examples from our recent World Without Transit survey:

    Due to a visual impairment, I cannot drive a car. Therefore, I'd be unemployed with no income if it weren't for public transit to get me back and forth to my two part-time jobs.

    — Darrel F., Illinois

    I have severe anxiety, ADHD, and Asperger’s and therefore take a lot of medication for those conditions. As a result, I cannot drive, because it would be too dangerous for both me as well as people around me…. Using public transportation helps me with my independence and my life as a whole.

    — Christopher C., Texas

    I'm a female disabled vet. I have no working car. Without public transit I would not be able to get to medical care, or to my part-time work, or to see my friends. Public transit is my lifeline.

    — Karen D., California

    My son is blind and uses public transportation to get to work, church, entertainment, and shopping. This is important for so many reasons.

    — Marcia M., Texas

    I'm a single mom on disability going to college on my own and supporting a teenage girl on my own so I need the bus to get to school and home. If I didn't have the bus, I couldn't go back to school.

    — Jennifer S., California

    I don't have a car and can’t afford one; I use the bus to get to work, grocery shop, and run my other errands. I moved to Colorado because I was told that you could get anywhere on the bus or light rail, and it’s true.

    — Clarice D., Colorado

    I'm on a fixed income, and I cannot afford the expense of a personal vehicle, as much as I'd love to have an economical car again. So, I rely on my local bus system. I'm thankful to have public transportation in my area.

    — Dawn F., Pennsylvania

    As you can see, public transit not only provides mobility for those who can’t drive, but is also essential for many individuals and families confronting financial challenges. We’re hearing from advocates who are able to attend school, reach work, and connect with their communities because of public transportation. Our nation should be proud that we’ve established the foundation of a public transportation network that supports mobility and independent living for millions of people, including seniors, people with disabilities, vets, and lower-income Americans — but we still have a long way to go before public transportation will be accessible to everyone who needs it.

    Unfortunately, public transportation is now threatened by substantial federal budget cuts, which could set our nation back decades in the progress we should be making toward a truly integrated, multi-modal transportation network. Voices for Public Transit will continue working to ensure our congressional champions know they have the support of voters around the country.

    Do you have a story you would like to share about why public transportation is important to you? Are you able to live more independently, pursue employment or educational opportunities, or connect with your community because of public transit? We’d like to hear about it. Please share your story at this link.

  • Public Transit Matters to Local Businesses

    Several of America’s largest employers made significant moves over the past few years:

    • In January 2016, GE announced its headquarters would leave Fairfield, Conn., and relocate to Boston.
    • Timber and wood products giant Weyerhaeuser moved its headquarters to downtown Seattle in 2016 after 45 years in the suburban town of Federal Way, Wash.
    • McDonald’s announced it would move its corporate offices from suburban Oak Brook, Ill., to Chicago by spring 2018.
    • Marriott, the world’s largest hotel company, has plans to relocate its headquarters to Bethesda, Md.

    What do all of these moves have in common? Proximity to public transportation.

    • Weyerhaeuser spokesman Jack Evans called access to transit "a big deal" for employees.
    • Marriott CEO Arne Sorensen specifically praised public transit as a lure for hiring, saying, “I think it’s essential we be accessible to Metro… I think, as with many other things, our younger folks are more inclined to be Metro-accessible and more urban.”

    These companies not only want to improve commutes for employees, but also be located where new, young talent wants to work. In our previous blog, we highlighted how access to public transportation is a key factor for Millennials when they decide where to live and work. In a recent Voices for Public Transit survey, business owners said public transit is critical to having the best workforce possible: “Providing [transit] access to all employees is critical to attracting quality talent.”

    Insurance giant State Farm has gone a step further. In three locations, the company is making investments in local public transit hubs. The company’s goal is to improve the quality of life for their employees and lay the foundation for future growth. According to Chief Operating Officer Michael Tipsord, “We’re designing these workplaces to be the future of State Farm. We’re creating a live-work-play environment that will give employees easy access to their work from the neighboring communities.”

    Corporate relocations or moves near public transportation can bring bountiful commercial, cultural, and retail benefits to the surrounding communities. In many areas, developers are investing in new housing in conjunction with public transit expansions. State Farm itself is anchoring a $600 million investment in Tempe, Ariz., and public transit access was a big reason for the company’s decision to move forward with this investment.

    Ever more frequently, the presence of public transportation is a primary factor in business decisions. It’s obvious public transportation infrastructure warrants public investment not just for the benefit of the people who ride it but also for their larger communities, so they may reap the benefits of increased economic activity, improved traffic congestion, and greater safety for everyone.

  • Multi-modal Transportation = Freedom to Choose

    Some Americans believe public transportation is only for people who can’t drive. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    Today, millions of Americans choose to ride public transit, often combining it with other forms of transportation, such as cars and bikes, to get where they need to go as comfortably and cost-effectively as possible.

    Notably, surveys show Millennials favor cities with public transportation because it gives them the freedom to live without a car. In one survey of Millennials, 80 percent said access to public transportation was “very important” when they considered where to live, while 78 percent ranked access to public transportation as more important than other workplace amenities, such as access to a gym, cafeteria, or coffee bar.

    Why Americans Choose Public Transit

    According to a 2015 survey, top reasons people choose to ride public transit include:

    • Cost-effectiveness
    • Productivity or relaxation
    • Convenience
    • Reduced carbon footprint
    • Faster that driving
    • Safety

    Public transit also supports an active lifestyle. Many people today are multimodal travelers, combining walking, bicycling, rideshare services, and public transportation to get to their destinations. Even those who drive are more frequently choosing also to use public transportation, leaving their cars at park & rides and letting the bus or train get them through the worst of the traffic in their area.

    Research also shows a great many Americans — 80 percent — would choose to ride buses and rail more often if service were more frequent or more accessible in their area. While many systems around the country have added new lines and services in recent years, there also is a nearly $90 billion backlog of needed maintenance and upgrades.

    As much as anything, public transportation gives Americans more freedom to choose — how they travel, where they live and work, to remain independent when they can’t drive, to reduce their individual impact on the environment or their living expenses, and much more. Investing in public transportation as part of a comprehensive, multi-modal transportation system just makes sense for Americans from all walks of life.

  • Celebrating Mobility Independence this 4th of July

    Did you know freedom of movement is a legally protected right in the United States?

    The right to travel means that all Americans can move freely about the country. Freedom of movement enables people to pursue jobs, educational opportunities, and quality of life anywhere in the country. At the local level, mobility enables people to get to work and school, access healthcare and other services, shop, and meet up with friends and family.

    The Importance of Public Transportation Access

    Transportation is a critical component for mobility. For millions of Americans who cannot drive, don’t have access to a car, or choose not to own a car, public transportation provides the mobility independence that’s vital to their ability to participate actively in the economy and their local communities.

    Reliable, affordable public transportation and paratransit services enable many seniors and people with disabilities to remain independent. Even when physical conditions prevent people from driving, they can still travel, maintain routines, volunteer, and have a full and active life. Public transit also gives people who can drive more options for mobility, which can help reduce costs, improve productivity, and increase the safety of travel for everyone.

    Although taxis and rideshare services can assist in getting people from Point A to Point B, public transportation is the real solution to providing affordable mobility to communities of all sizes. And we are seeing innovative public transit solutions emerging around the country to meet the unique needs of the various communities they serve. Public transit systems in Florida and Oregon are partnering with rideshare services and developing hybrids of on-demand and fixed-route service to better reach into areas that can be difficult to serve with traditional bus and train services, like suburban residential neighborhoods. Hundreds more examples exist around the country. With the right combination of investment and innovation, we are making public transit accessible to more people in more communities than ever before.

    Proposed Budget Cuts Threaten Mobility Independence

    Whether you live in a big northeast city or a rural southwest community, President Trump’s proposed public transportation budget cuts could undermine mobility independence if Congress chooses to enact them.

    The president has proposed eliminating the TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant program. This program has improved mobility for Americans around the country. For example, the 2016 TIGER grant awarded to Brownsville, Texas, helps people in rural areas connect with educational and employment opportunities in central Brownsville.

    Public transit expansions and innovations like these may disappear without a continued commitment from Congress to invest in public transportation — and without public transportation, many Americans will see their mobility independence drastically reduced.

    Celebrating What We Have

    This July 4th, Voices for Public Transit is celebrating the freedom of movement public transportation supports in so many ways—for people who ride it and for people who don’t. We’ve seen system expansions over the last decade, development of new technologies, and better integration between public transit and other forms of transportation moving us toward truly multi-modal transportation networks. It’s a positive transportation revolution for our entire nation, and we’re committed to seeing it continue.

    P.S. When you celebrate the Fourth of July — especially if you go to events in urban centers — consider taking public transit. It’s a great way to travel safely and efficiently and celebrate our nation and our freedom of movement at the same time.

  • Increasing Use of Public Transit Can Save Lives — Not Just Time and Money

    Two key facts we should all be considering as we debate how America should allocate its transportation budget:

    Investing in improved and expanded public transportation doesn’t just save Americans time and money, it also helps save American lives. Supporting public transportation should be an easy decision for Congress—even those members who represent states and districts that currently don’t have large public transit systems.

    Improved Safety for Everyone

    What’s critical for Congress — and the American people — to understand is that the safety benefits of public transportation are not limited just to people who ride it.

    As the 2016 report “The Hidden Traffic Safety Solution: Public Transportation” shows, public transit riders and non-riders jointly see their crash risk cut by 50 percent when they live in communities with strong public transit systems. In other words, having public transit in your community makes the roads safer for everyone.

    A Safer Option for Higher-Risk Drivers

    Public transportation is also an important — and sometimes the only — transportation option for people who cannot drive, don’t have access to a car, or are vulnerable drivers. Older Americans justifiably want to remain active, independent, and mobile. Unfortunately, the risk of dying as the result of a car crash increases starting at age 75 and rises significantly after age 80. Our seniors are safer if they can ride public transportation. This option, however, would be reduced for many older Americans if federal funding for public transit is slashed.

    Teen drivers have an even higher crash death rate per mile driven than seniors. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for people ages 15 to 20. Public transit can provide safer mobility for teens — and makes the roads safer for all of us.

    Voices for Public Transit has often made the case that it makes economic sense to invest in public transportation. But governing shouldn’t just be about dollars and cents. We also need to remember — and remind Congress — that public transportation saves American lives.

  • Advocate spotlight

    David R.

    I am a regular rider of SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Agency), Philadelphia's transit agency.

    Read More

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