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Transit Scheduling Software and Fixed Route Service

How Public Transportation Benefits Everyone

Demand Responsive Paratransit and Fixed Route Transit Services

Public transportation plays a more important role in modern society than we are led to believe. However, in the past two years, nearly every US city, with a few notable exceptions, have reported a decline in their transit ridership rates. Data has shown that overall transit ridership rates hit an all-time low in 2017 since 2005, and bus ridership alone fell 5 percent. This steady decline has been attributed to factors such as lower fuel costs, shifts in demographics, and the rise of convenient alternatives such as rideshare.

Making headlines in the transit industry today are the latest Silicon Valley tech innovations. While these innovations introduce more efficiency into the modern rider’s life, they may not be sustainable solutions. Public transit still plays a vital role and allowing it to continue on its decline will bring about negative consequences in the long run.

Why We Should Invest In Public Transportation

Despite the innovations we’ve seen in the private transportation industry, an important issue to keep in mind is that these solutions do not provide similar positive effects for public transit. Abandoning the public transportation model will bring about serious implications. Below are some key reasons why modern society still needs public transportation:

Promotes Economic Growth

An urban studies report estimated, on average, expanding and optimizing transit services produced an economic benefit of roughly $45 million a year by connecting urban areas. That figure ranged between $1.5 million and $1.8 billion based on the size of the city.

According to APTA, an investment of $10 million in public transportation generates about $32 million in increased business sales. Residential property values for homes located near public transit with high-frequency service performed 42% better on average. It was also found in the APTA report that for every $1 billion invested in public transportation, more than 50,000 jobs are created.

Because bigger cities have more people utilizing public transit infrastructure, they tend to benefit more. Looking at agglomeration more closely, a benefit of having more people in an area is to widen and diversify the labor force which in turn promotes economic growth. Agglomeration can be promoted.

Prevents Negative Economic Implications

A pressing concern that arises if public transit were to die out is the economic implication. There is uncertainty on how and if government regulation will be able to ensure equitable transit service for all in terms of income inequality. A for-profit mass transit model would put at-risk communities at further risk. The issue here is that upward mobility will be stunted and income disparity may further widen without public transit.

Conserves Environmental Quality

Opting for public transit is one of the most effective and accessible actions individuals can take to cut down on energy consumption. It helps metropolitan areas reduce overall vehicle emissions and pollutants significantly as transportation accounts for 29% of greenhouse gas emissions produced nationwide. Simply put, the fewer vehicles used to move people around, the fewer emissions produced.

From an energy standpoint, one of the main sources of energy usage in the US is petroleum used in private vehicles. Public transportation use saves an equivalent of 300,000 fewer automobile fill-ups daily. On top of that, the growing usage of electric, hybrid, and alternative fuel within the transit industry will further reduce energy consumption. Not only will increasing ridership cut down on fuel consumption, it will also reduce the nation’s dependency on foreign oil.

Another environmental benefit is that public transportation enables higher density land development. This reduces the time and distance between destinations, which means reduced emissions from transportation. Compact development allows for more land use for other uses as well as reduces the need for pavements which causes run-offs that degrade the water supply.

Eases Traffic Congestion

The 2010 Urban Mobility Report states that the lack of public transportation services would have cost commuters an additional 785 million hours of delay. With growing urban population numbers, this number undoubtedly stands higher today. “There is no doubt that expanding public transportation use is key to reducing traffic congestion,” said APTA President, William Millar. Public transit has the ability to transport many more people in much less space than individual automobiles, hence reducing traffic congestion and helping riders avoid the daily stress of maneuvering through heavy road congestion.

Allows Affordable Means of Commute

An average of more than $8,000 is saved every year by households that use public transportation as opposed to driving a primary vehicle. It is also worth noting that residents in proximity to public transportation drive an average of 4,400 miles less every year compared to those without access. Individuals who opt for public transit save significantly as they do not need to expense for gas, maintenance, insurance, and other related expenses. For those who cannot afford their own private vehicle in the first place, public transit offers an affordable and viable solution.

Supports Tourism

During Infrastructure Week 2014, Elliott Ferguson, President and CEO of Destination DC, Washington D.C.’s convention and tourism organization, brought attention to global tourists when visiting a city. He stated that visitors expect to have the option to experience the city without the need of a car.

It has also been projected that the US will attract more than 101 million international tourists in 2021. In order to support the growth of the tourism industry, cities must be able to live up to the transit expectations of visitors. For instance, in countries such as Japan and China, visitors have the opportunity to see the country from the windows of their high-speed rail car.

It Can’t Just Be About Driverless Cars

The urban population’s soaring numbers call for sustainable solutions to address the mass transit issues of today. While autonomous vehicles and rideshare innovations are more exciting subjects to delve in, they are not large-scale transit solutions, and hence will be unable to support urban growth. Public transportation and fixed-route transit services play a bigger role in society than we are often led to believe. Letting it become obsolete will bring about serious implications to communities nationwide in the long-run. Transit agencies need to take proactive approaches in order to have the best opportunity to solve for mass transit.

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