Mass Transit: Use It, Shrink Your Carbon Footprint

Using mass transit will greatly reduce your fossil fuel emission contribution.  Highway CongestedEveryone should try to integrate into their daily lives, several times a month, to start. It may not be possible to utilize mass transit every day, but you should give it a try when you can make it fit into yur schedule whenever you can. It’s a more colorful way to get where you’re going. Transit systems around the world are making incredible strides every day, with more exact route schedules, more efficient buses, smoother rides and generally more pleasant experiences. Many public transportation systems are expanding their fleets by adding newer buses that run on alternative fuels, natural gas and even hybrid motors (Alternative Energy News – Public Transportation).

As someone who lives in the congested Washington, D.C., metro area, I can appreciate the positive impact that mass transit has on the environment. The more I use the metro instead of taking a cab, car or big honking SUV, the less greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere. Just think how often you have seen an over-sized SUV with a single, petite person idling at a stoplight. Across the country mass transit is getting better.

The most attractive feature of mass transit is the low cost. Getting a monthly bus or subway pass is far more economical than the costs associated with the luxury of driving to work everyday. When it comes to driving, you can’t just factor in the cost of gas, you have to add in the price of the car, annual depreciation, insurance and maintenance. One of my colleagues tells me that it costs him roughly 25 cents per mile to maintain his car. After insurance, depreciation and gas, you can probably double that per-mile rate. That’s pretty discouraging, but it’s the true financial picture.

The second great thing about mass transit is that it’s a really convenient, stress-free way to travel because it eliminates wasted time. Some people say mass transit takes longer than driving, but when you look at all the time you waste in a car, that argument goes down the drain. Why spend your time stuck behind the wheel and madly texting at stoplights, when you can entrust the driving to a professional, allowing you time to read, answer e-mails, power nap or immerse yourself in an endless daydream?

According to a recent poll from The Chicago Tribune, many Americans want more money invested in the mass transit infrastructure (Citizens Want More Public Transit). Research also shows that new technologies are being developed that will make mass transit faster, more affordable and less harmful to the environment. The California company Sunpods, Inc., is currently finishing up research for their new solar-assisted buses, which will allow them to meet the strict standards imposed by the state.

Buses are also becoming hybrid electric, and can run on the electric component for extended periods of travel. Just up the road from where I live, the Charm City Circulator in Baltimore provides free transit around key areas, cycles every 10-15 minutes and saves 2.25 tons in greenhouse gas emissions. Now that’s the best combination of reduced cost, increased convenience and less environmental impact out out there! In my backyard, the DC Circulator circles from Georgetown to Capitol Hill, and even has a handy phone application that will tell you when the next bus will be at your stop. Pretty nifty. For more insights on advancement in mass transit, read Small Improvements Produce Big Benefits.

The bottom line is that mass transit represents the present and future of transportation for those who want to be environmentally conscious and reduce their carbon footprints. Check out the links below to see what others have to say about mass transit and the sustainable opportunities it can provide.

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About the author

Joe Patterson