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The Case for Public Transportation, in Infographic Form

The Case for Public Transportation, in Infographic Form
Courtesy: Credit Donkey

This would make a great poster. Last week the Sustainable Cities Collective posted a terrific, poster-sized graphic highlighting the benefits of public transportation to individuals and to society. The very well-made display was created, somewhat improbably, by Boris at Credit Donkey, a website whose primary function seems to be to explicate the world of credit cards to consumers. The graphic is based on research by Kelly Teh.

The link between an environmental cause and a site primarily devoted to credit cards is, I suppose, household expenses. Taking transit saves household expenses. We should enlarge and frame this, and put it on one of the incredibly blank walls (that's another story) in our offices here at NRDC:

Teh's article on Credit Donkey explains her reasoning:

As I was riding the DC Metro a couple of weeks ago, I was reminded of the metro tickets I keep as mementos of places I’ve traveled: San Francisco’s BART, Atlanta’s MARTA, and New York City’s subway system. That got me thinking about stories of families who’ve saved a bundle by becoming one-car (or no-car) households ...

According to RITA Bureau of Transportation’s statistics on average fuel efficiency and distance traveled to work (10 miles each way), the average daily work commute costs about $2.25 each way in a car compared to $1.02 for the average public transit fare—nearly half price.

The cost savings alone could justify using public transit, not to mention the health benefits. APTA claims public transportation offers cleaner air with 95% less carbon monoxide and nearly 50% less carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide per passenger mile than a private vehicle does.

There's much more, but it's all in the graphic. Enjoy. Props to Kelly and Boris for doing it.

This post originally appeared on the NRDC's Switchboard blog.

Kaid Benfield is special counsel for urban solutions at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an adjunct professor at the George Washington University School of Law, co-founder of the LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system, and author of several books on cities, smart growth and sprawl. All posts »

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