We love our cars, but sometimes there can be a better way to get to work or to the beach, or simply to the drug store. And providing Americans with those choices can also be good for the economy.
In fact, each 1% of regional travel shifted from automobile to public transit increases regional income about $2.9 million, resulting in 226 additional regional jobs. Other economic benefits include increased productivity, employment, business activity, investment and redevelopment.
Cities with well-established rail systems have less traffic congestion, lower traffic death rates, lower consumer expenditures on transportation, significantly higher per capita transit ridership, lower average per capita vehicle mileage, and higher transit service cost recovery than otherwise comparable cities with less or no rail transit service.
Moreover, whether in Houston, Texas, or Portland, Oregon, rail transit systems not only provide economic, but social and environmental benefits.
Social benefits of transit include improved public health, greater flexibility in trip planning and accessibility for non-drivers.
Rail travel consumes about a fifth of the energy per passenger-mile as automobile travel. Electric powered rail produces minimal air and noise emissions.