The secret of great cities
It is a simple secret to most of the world’s greatest, most livable cities. They all have fast, efficient and affordable public transportation systems. Why is public transportation so key to making a city great for living? It means that getting to where you need to go with public transportation is smooth, stress-free and far better than in an individual vehicle. This makes the road less clogged, even as populations grow, it reduces carbon emissions, and traffic accidents and promotes better air quality. It really can be a dream come true, but why are we still not sold on it in many countries?
The great equalizer
Getting around from place to place in an affordable manner is vital to everyone, and when transportation cost or availability is a barrier to low-income families taking preferred employment or getting to school, we have another form of social injustice at play. When a trip that takes just 20 minutes by car takes 2 hours by public transit and runs at inconvenient times, people who don’t have any other option are left with the grinding reality that their days start much earlier and end much later. This is yet another challenge faced by many new immigrants, and those working in low-income positions.
Where public transit does work efficiently, where we see networked communities and high quality transportation we have people choosing to take public transit because it is the most efficient mode of travel, and that has benefits for us all.
Public transportation and jobs
There are many benefits that are associated with using public transportation. For one, public transportation has the ability to benefit your local economy. Investing in public transportation increases property values for houses that have access to nearby high frequency transportation service. Well-functioning public transportation also helps to generate increased business sales, as potential customers are able to easily make their way to retail locations. Additionally, public transportation plays an important role in the creation of jobs. Any transportation service requires people to operate and maintain the infrastructure.
The environment benefits significantly from the use of public transportation. When people choose to share a form of transportation with others, the number of personal vehicles on the road is significantly decreased. Not only does this reduce traffic congestion, and therefore decrease the amount of time that vehicles spend idling, but it also results in a more fuel-efficient way of travelling.
Public transportation uses less fuel per passenger than a vehicle which contains only one or two occupants. Reducing our consumption of fossil fuels is essential when it comes to dealing with climate change and making environmentally friendly choices. Plus, we have the added bonus of cleaner air in our cities and towns.
Another benefit of using public transit is that you spend less money! Those who ride public instead of driving a personal vehicle are able to save thousands of dollars a year. Public transportation passes allow you to travel an unlimited amount of times for a set cost. Compared to a private vehicle which requires an upfront cost of purchasing, gas, maintenance, and insurance, choosing a method of public transportation can help you cut costs!
Different kinds of public transportation
There are many different types of public transportation that may be available in your city. While most cities are equipped with busses, there are plenty of other transportation methods that you might want to consider. Trains are once again growing in popularity, as governments are increasing the number of passenger trains that run through cities and upgrading current infrastructure. The benefit of trains is that it helps reduce the number of vehicles on the road.
Similarly, large cities may have tram cars or trolley cars which run on tracks within city streets. The light rail is a form of public transportation that lies between a tram and a train. Light rail can hold a larger number of passengers than a tram but travels slightly slower than a train, therefore useful for those who travel short distances regionally. Metro systems, which operate underground and bypass normal traffic, are also common in large cities and can be a great way to travel!
If you’re not using public transportation already, look into what methods are available in your region. Keep in mind where you would be frequently travelling to in order to find a method that is the most time and cost effective! More importantly, get vocal about supporting transit in your city and town, it is a vital part of creating livable cities as we take action on climate change.
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