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American Public Transportation Association

 Transit News



Mantill Williams
(202) 496-4869

Virginia Miller
(202) 496-4816

 Access to Bus and Rail Lines Reduces Driving by 4400 Miles per Household Saves 42 Billion Gallons of Gasoline and 37 Million Metric Tons of Carbon


WASHINGTON, DC – The most energy efficient households in America that produce the least amount of carbon are located within close proximity of a bus or rail line.  The people in those households drive an average of 4,400 fewer miles annually as compared to persons in similar households with no access to public transit, according to a new study released today by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). 

The study, “Broadening the Connection between Public Transportation and Energy Conservation” was prepared for APTA by ICF International.  It also finds that:

  • Communities who choose to invest in public transportation reduce the nation’s carbon emissions by 37 million metric tons annually- equivalent to the electricity used by 4.9 million households.  To achieve a similar reduction in carbon emissions, every household in New York City, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Denver and Los Angeles combined would have to completely stop using electricity. 
  • This “leverage effect” of public transportation, supporting efficient land use patterns saves 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline – more than three times the amount of gasoline refined from the oil we import from Kuwait.      

“Investing in public transportation is one of the more effective ways to combat global climate change and conserve energy,” said William W. Millar, president of the American Public Transportation Association.  “Public transit encourages more compact development and greater personal choice in how people travel.  People have closer access to jobs and shopping and more trips can be made on foot, by bike or just a short car ride.”

People living in households near public transit travel 12 fewer miles per day which is 27 percent less than persons in households with no access to public transit according to the study.  This equates to an individual household reduction of 223 gallons of gasoline a year.     

Between 1982 and 2006, vehicle miles traveled in the U.S. have increased by 47 percent per person from an average of 6,800 miles per year to almost 10,000 miles per year.  U.S. greenhouse gases from transportation represents 33 percent of the total and autos and light trucks are the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions from mobile sources. 

“Embracing public transportation at the local level is an important first step toward energy independence and protecting the environment,” said Millar.  “We are working with Congress because increased investment in, and use of, public transportation are among the more powerful energy independence solutions.”

To view the full report go to

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