Monday, November 23, 2009

Possible problems with transit

Ann, one commenter on my last post, on benefits of public transportation, pointed out that in order for public transportation to improve the environment people must get out of their cars and take transit to work or other destination. If people continue to drive cars rather than taking the bus or train, the transit program will not aid the environment.

Richard P. predicted (to paraphrase) "if you build it, they will come". Specifically, he asked why someone would want to drive a car, pay for gas, etc. when they could take transit.

I agree that transit make sense. I take the bus or train whenever I can. However, many people still want to stay in their cars. They always have an excuse - they are too busy to wait for the next bus, they need more flexibility, etc.

However, if the bus or train to not go near a person's destination, there is no reason for that person to use the bus or train.

It is important that the transit system being designed for Wake County provide acceptable service for as many people as possible. Buses will need to go to most of the job locations and by as many houses as possible.

The environmental benefits depend upon a transit system that succeeds to get a large number of people out of their cars and onto public transportation.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A benefit of public transportation

One way that more public transit will help to improve the environment is the reduction in gasoline used to power personal cars and the reduction in carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, produced by cars. Buses, of course, burn oil and produce carbon dioxide. But, compared to personal cars, they produce far less per person, assuming that more than a very few people are on the bus.

Light rail will produce even less pollution and consume less energy per person.

A less obvious way that public transportation reduces pollution and gasoline consumption is the reduction of road congestion. Cars burn gasoline and produce pollution while waiting at an intersection or waiting to turn onto a busy street. If congestion is reduced by drivers giving up their cars for a bus or train, oil consumption and production of CO2 and other pollution will be reduced.