Key Topic


When people in urban and rural areas need to commute to their jobs, schools, doctors, or just to see their families, millions of them use public transportation whether it is a train, bus, ferry or some other form of mass transit.  In fact, people board public transportation 35 million times each weekday (American Public Transportation Association). Using public transit helps reduce traffic, greenhouse gas emissions, and America’s dependence on foreign oil.  

The statistics regarding transit ridership are impressive. According to the American Public Transportation Association:

  • Public transportation ridership grew 37.2 percent from 1995 to 2013, almost double the growth rate of the U.S. population (20.3 percent).
  • Passengers took 10.7 billion trips in 2013 – the highest ridership since 1956.
  • The nation’s largest transit agency, MTA New York City Transit, carried passengers on 3.3 billion trips for 12.2 billion miles.
  • Public transit users save more than $9,381 per year by taking public transportation instead of driving (American Public Transportation Association, 2010).

Other statistics:

  • Public transit reduces petroleum consumption by a total of 1.4 billion gallons of gasoline each year. This represents 108 million fewer cars filling up – almost 300,000 everyday (ICF International, 2007).
  • In 2006, public transit around the country saved 3.4 billion gallons of oil and prevented 26 million tons of greenhouse gases (Maryland Public Interest Research Group, 2008).  

As urban areas continue to grow, and roads reach their capacity, there will be an increased demand for transit buses, trains, vans, and other means to move people efficiently and without harming the environment.  We must continue to make smart investments in our mass transit systems so that people will have choices when it comes to their mobility.