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Better Public Transport Systems – Lost Cause Or Best Solution?

If you are like most Americans, you think of cars as part of our American culture and the answer to our mobility. But with our current mobility challenges is there a better answer? Are public transport systems a better way to access employment, community resources, medical care, and recreational opportunities for all?  See below for mobility challenges we face today and the benefits of public transport systems.

10 Mobility Challenges We Face Within Our Communities and Our Public Transport Systems. 

Below are many mobility challenges we face today in our communities and on our commutes.

1. Traffic Congestion and Parking Difficulties.

For instance, cities with over a million people have on-going problems with traffic congestion and finding parking.

2. Longer Commute.

Also for the 80% of the workforce that do not have the opportunity to work from home, commutes are getting longer. A major reason for this is that homes are more affordable in suburbs and rural areas.

3. Inadequate Public Transport.

Many public transit systems are either over or underused. In particular, this is in part due to demand during many parts of the day. Additionally, public transport is underfunded and in poor maintenance. For example, 45% of Americans have no access to public transportation.

4. Difficulties for Non-Motorized Transport.

Most of the physical design of infrastructure and facilities are designed for automobiles. As a result, the mobility of pedestrians, bicycles, and other non-motorized vehicles are impaired.

5. Loss of Public Space.

Also, highways and roads have reduced the available public spaces. Hence, increased car traffic has inhibited face-to-face social interactions and activities.

6. High Infrastructure Maintenance Costs.

Further communities face aging highway infrastructure and pressures to upgrade to more expensive, modern infrastructures.

7. Adverse Environmental Impacts and Energy Consumption. 

Pollution to include noise is a major concern. This includes energy consumption, especially fossil fuels, which is a major concern affecting the quality of life and health for all.

8. More Accidents and Safety Concerns.

Also, car accidents are always a concern, and are increasing in developing countries. Further, these accidents also lead to traffic congestion.

9. Increased Freight Distribution Causes Congestion.

There is an ever increasing presence of large truck and delivery vehicles in our communities. This is due to increasing standards of living, our consumption-based society, and the increased use of eCommerce to purchase goods..

Public Transport Systems - I Should Have Taken the Bus
Should Have Taken The Bus!
10. Automobile Dependency.

Cars offer clear advantages to other modes of transport to include on-demand mobility, comfort, status, speed, and convenience. Additionally, we are conditioned to favor automobiles due to advertising (symbol of status), Further, over the years we have created a transportation infrastructure that caters to privately owned vehicles. Lastly, this dependency does not appear will change anytime soon with the advent of electric cars.

See Transport Geography Organization’s Urban Transport Challenges for more details on the mobility challenges our communities and public transportation systems are facing now an in the future.

9 Benefits of an Effective Public Transport System in the U.S.

It is a fact that public transportation is the best opportunity to move the most amount of people from one area to another in an efficient, affordable manner. This opportunity is also increased when it is integrated with city planning. Specifically, planning councils can complement public transportation by encouraging both access for pedestrians and cyclists. Further, planning boards can encourage having housing close to these integrated public transportation systems. Hence, this will assure access and efficiency for all. Lastly, the challenges for communities and transportation planners is how to build and maintain an effective public transport system. To detail, below are the benefits of a successful public transport system.

1. Improves Community Health.

For example, public transport commuters can easily achieve 30 minutes of exercise a day.

2. Economic Benefits to the Community.

Also, studies show that for every dollar invested in public transportation can yield around $4 in economic gains in the community.

3. Improves Fuel Efficiency.

Even when public transport uses fossil fuels it is more fuel efficient in terms of miles per passenger. Additionally, public transport vehicles such as buses can be outfitted with alternative fuel sources.

4. Public Transportation Reduces Air Pollution.

Also, approximately 85% of the greenhouse gas emissions that come from transportation are due to day-to-day car commuters. So by leaving the car at home, a person can save up to 20 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions every day.

5. Improves Road Congestion.

Obviously if more people use public transportation, roads will be less congested.

6. Provides an Equitable Transportation System

Also, free or inexpensive public transportation systems enable all members of the community to have access to all regions of the community. Thus, all people have freedom to go wherever they like.

7. Public Transportation Improves Commuters Productivity.

If someone else is driving, a commuter can read, text, or relax during the commute.

8. Safer Highways.

Fewer cars on the road mean less accidents. For instance, this means that there would be a significant reduction in the  tens of thousands of lives lost every year.

9. Reduce Household Expenses.

Lastly, each family that gets rid of one car and relies on public transit saves over $10,000 per year.

See Remix’s 8 Benefits of Public Transportation, SmartCitiesDive’s 10 Benefits of Public Transportation, and WRI’s Three Ways to Reimagine Public Transportation for more information on the benefits of an effective public transport system.

See SC Tech Insights for more articles on Transportation.  Also, see SC Tech Insights’ Smart City And IoT – The Best Opportunities And The Challenges.

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