American Public Transportation Association
 
American Public Transportation Association
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 Benefits of Public Transportation

These reports present data and analysis concerning the benefits of transit use for the economy, environment, and the well being of transit riders and their communities.  Additional reports on these topics can be found in the Reports and Publications pages of the APTA web site.

Energy and Environment Benefits

  • Acts of Nature and Public Transportation - November 2012
    This white paper reviews the ways in which acts of nature – particularly extreme weather events – can impact transit’s $77 billion investment backlog, identifies strategies transit agencies can pursue to reduce weather-related risks, and discusses resources and opportunities for the transit community.
  • Transit on the Cutting Edge of Clean Technology - September 2012
    This white paper reviews the substantial progress that transit agencies have made in investing in innovative clean technologies and fuels, such as electricity, hybrid vehicles, electric storage, biofuels, natural gas, and hydrogen fuel cells. Transit, in fact, has often been on the cutting edge of adopting these clean technologies, driven in part by a range of federal and state policies, programs, and incentives.
  • The Route to Carbon and Energy Savings - November 2010
    This report identifies a portfolio of strategies that transit agencies can take to reduce the energy use and GHG emissions of their operations and estimates the potential impacts of those strategies in 2030 and 2050. Using interviews and current literature, a portfolio of 17 high-priority strategies were selected for analysis based on their potential for reducing GHG emissions over the medium and long term.
  • Quantifying Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Transit - August 2009
    This Recommended Practice provides guidance to transit agencies for quantifying their greenhouse gas emissions, including both emissions generated by transit and the potential reduction of emissions through efficiency and displacement by laying out a standard methodology for transit agencies to report their greenhouse gas emissions in a transparent, consistent and cost-effective manner.
  • The Broader Connection between Public Transportation, Energy Conservation and Greenhouse Gas Reduction - February 2008
    Land use and travel impacts of transit service result in energy use reduction and greenhouse gas emission reductions greater than those measured by a simple comparison  of transit and private vehicles energy use and emission rates.
  • Public Transportation’s Contribution To U.S. Greenhouse Gas Reduction - September 2007
    This report will answers how much net C02 is public transportation saving in the U.S., how much additional C02 savings are possible if loads are increased,  what is the significance of non-public transportation commuter use and what can households do to save more, and finally are there favorable land use impacts that public transportation contributes to the environment and social benefits?
  • Public Transportation and Petroleum Savings in the U.S. Reducing Dependence on Oil - January 2007
    This Independent analysis looks for the first time at what public transportation saves—both for individual households and for the nation as a whole. In addition, it explores a possible future where many more Americans would have the choice to take public transportation. APTA commissioned the report from ICF International.

Economy and Employment Benefits

  • A New Partnership: Rail Transit and Convention Growth - November 2013
    This joint report produced with the U.S. Travel Assocation examines how cities with rail stations connected directly to airport terminals can realize increases in hotel performance. The report compares six cities with direct rail access from their airport terminal to five cities without. The analysis found that from 2006-2013, hotels in the cities with direct rail access brought in 10.9% more revenue per room than hotels in those cities without.
  • The New Real Estate Mantra - March 2013
    This paper shows that average sales prices for residences near public transportation were more resilent during the Great Recession than their respective regions as a whole.
  • The Business Case for Investment in Public Transportation - March 2013
  • Public Transportation is an attractive market for both public and private investment and offers a significant ROI for investors. Demographic shifts and changes in consumer preferences ensures a dynamic market future.
  • Opportunity Cost of Inaction: High-Speed Rail and High Performance Passenger Rail in the United States - July 2012
    This paper addresses the initial investment and on-going cost of operation and maintenance of high-performance passenger rail (HPPR) in four of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) sanctioned HPPR regional networks – Northeast, Chicago Hub, California, and Northwest – over a 40 year period. The system can generate a net benefit of at least $660 million annually. If the nation should forgo this opportunity, it stands to sustain a cost of at least $26.4 billion in foregone economic benefits over the next four decades.
  • High-Speed Rail: On the Move in America - July 2012
    High-speed rail is critical to America’s economic future. Congestion on our highways and runways already costs $130 billion a year, and our population is expected to grow by another 100 million people in the next 40 years. That is the key rationale behind the Obama Administration’s more than $10 billion investment in high-speed and passenger rail projects across the country.
  • Public Transportation Protects Americans From Gas Price Volatility - May 2012
    This paper highlights the role that public transit plays in protecting Americans from price volatility, as well as strategies that can buffer Americans from future gas price shocks.
  • Economic Recovery: Promoting Growth - March 2012
  • Rural Communities: Expanding Horizons - March 2012
  • An Inventory of the Criticisms of High-Speed Rail - January 2012
    This report is the summary of extensive research that examined the criticism that has been leveled over the past three years at the national efforts to improve intercity passenger rail and introduce true high-speed passenger rail in the United States. The report defines eight broad categories of criticism of high-speed rail and offers several counterarguments to each.
  • 2011 Urban Mobility Report - September 2011 
    This annual report by the Texas transportation Institute at Texas A&M University documents the cost of congestion on America's roads.  The savings in dollars, lost time, and wasted fuel that result from transit se are documented.
  • Economic Impact Of Public Transportation Investment - October 2009
    This report estimates the economic impact of transit service including jobs supported by type, value added to the economy, business sales output, labor income, and added tax revenue.
    Download the accompanying presentation here.
  • Job Impacts of Spending on Public Transportation: an Update - April 2009
    This document reviews and updates estimates of the job impacts of public transportation spending and it examines broader issues concerning the definition and measurement of those job impacts.
  • Optimal Supply and Demand for Urban Transit in the United States - February 2008
    This report estimates the economic and social benefits of bringing transit to the optimal level of supply.
  • Healthy Returns: The Economic Impact of Public Investment in Surface Transportation - March 2005
    America’s highways, roads and public transportation systems contribute to virtually everything of value in our  economy and lives – from linking businesses to their suppliers and customers, to bringing jobs, education, health care, recreation and government services within every American’s reach.  This report measures those benefits and the costs required to achieve them.
  • Public Transportation and the Nation’s Economy - October 1999
    Using state-of-the-art analytic techniques, this study affirms the significant positive economic impact of transit investments on jobs and business revenue.  An early analysis using sophisticated modeling techniques, this report verifies the continued positive results of studies about transit economic benefits.
  • Transportation Spending and Economic Growth: The Effects of Transit and Highway Expenditures - September 1991
    An analytical report by Dr. David Alan Aschauer, Senior Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, explains why one way to generate higher productivity growth is through increased funding for transportation, in general, and for public transit in particular.  This early analysis of transit benefits shows the consistent positive economic impact of transit using changing analytical methodologies.

Health Benefits

  • Evaluating Public Transportation Health Benefits - June 2010
    This report by Todd Litman investigates ways that public transportation affects human health, and ways to incorporate these impacts into transport policy and planning decisions. This research indicates that public transit improvements and more transit oriented development can provide large but often overlooked health benefits.
    Update from June 2011 on Author's Web Site at http://www.vtpi.org/tran_health.pdf

Multiple-Benefit Studies

  • Rail Transit in America: A Comprehensive Evaluation of Benefits - 2004 (Litman, Todd)
    This report quantifies the benefits of rail transit based on a comprehensive analysis of system performance.  The analysis indicates that rail transit investments are a cost-effective way to improve urban transport, and shows that rail transit systems provide a variety of economic, social and environmental benefits that tend to increase as a system expands and matures.
    Update from June 2011 on Author's Web Site at http://www.vtpi.org/railben.pdf

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