U.S. Public Transit Ridership in 2008: Highest Level in 52 years!

public transit ridership photo

Photo: Flickr, CC
10,700,000,000 Trips!
A recent report by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) reveals some very interesting numbers. "Despite falling gas prices and an economic recession, increasing numbers of Americans took 10.7 billion trips on public transportation in 2008, the highest level of ridership in 52 years and a modern ridership record." Okay, to be honest, the US population was probably significantly lower 52 years ago, but this is still a very good sign.From the APTA report:

This represents a 4.0 percent increase over the number of trips taken in 2007 on public transportation, while at the same time, vehicle miles traveled (VMTs) on our nation's roads declined by 3.6 percent in 2008, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

We covered the decline in miles driven in the US in the past few months:

US Drivers Traveled 20 Billion Fewer Miles in April of 2008 than Last Year
Miles Traveled by US Drivers Down for 9th Straight Month
Number of the Day: 1,188.5 Billion

At the time, high oil prices seemed to be the main factor, but now the economic recession seems to have taken over (and environmental motives are a growing factor, I hope).

We also had a post about how More Than Half of All Vehicles' Trips to Work in US are 11 Miles or Less. For such short distances, public transit could easily be substituted to cars (at least in cities where there's a decent infrastructure).

APTA president William W. Millar said: "Given our current economic condition, people are looking for ways to save money and taking public transportation offers a substantial savings of more than $8,000 a year. That's quite a savings."

$8,000 a year on average! And people say putting a solar water heater or solar panels on a house is too expensive...

Via American Public Transportation Association, Green Car Congress
More Transportation Articles
5 Ways to Power the Green Cars of the Future
New Honda Insight Hybrid Outsells Toyota Prius in Japan in February
Pininfarina and Bolloré Taking Orders for B0 Electric Car

Related Content on Treehugger.com