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« Can Transit Revive a City? | Main | Reverse Commute, Reverse Plans »

June 15, 2007


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Allen Muchnick

This campaign is mere greenwashing.

Despite APTA's boasting, the energy-saving and pollution-reduction virtues of public transportation are rather marginal; i.e.:

"Public transportation produces nearly 50 percent less carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide per passenger miles, as private vehicles."

Supposedly, this is an average for both 1) all public transportation service (including peak-period transit service, when buses and railcars are packed) and 2) for all private motor vehicles (including the fuel-inefficient "light" trucks [SUVs] used by many today).

Thus, public transportation is no cleaner or more energy efficient overall per passenger mile than autos with moderately good fuel economy, and public transit at off-peak times may be no cleaner or more energy efficient than an "average" motor vehicle per passenger mile.

Still, taking transit on "dump the pump day" is slightly more effective than driving as usual on that day and merely buying the gasoline consumed on another day.

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