Every segment of American society—-individuals, families, communities, and businesses—benefits from public transportation. It is a lifeline for millions of Americans connecting them to people, places and possibilities. It also builds thriving communities, creates jobs, eases traffic congestion and promotes a cleaner environment. Investment in public transportation spurs both local and the national economy.
Public Transportation Consists of a Variety of Modes
- Light rail
- Commuter trains
- Streetcars and trolleys
- Cable cars
- Van pool services
- Ferries and water taxis
- Paratransit services for senior citizens and people with disabilities
- Monorails and tramways
- In 2019, Americans took 9.9 billion trips on public transportation.
- 34 million times each weekday, people board public transportation.
- Public transportation is a $79 billion industry that employs more than 430,000 people.
- Approximately 6,800 organizations provide public transportation in the United States.
- 45% of Americans have no access to public transportation.
- Millennials consider public transportation as the best option for digital socializing and among the best for connecting with communities.
Public Transportation Provides Economic Opportunities
- Every $1 invested in public transportation generates $5 in economic returns.
- Every $1 billion invested in public transportation supports and creates approximately 50,000 jobs.
- Every $10 million in capital investment in public transportation yields $30 million in increased business sales.
- Every $10 million in operating investment yields $32 million in increased business sales.
- An estimated $39 billion of public transit expenditures flow into the private sector.
- Home values were up to 24% higher near public transportation than in other areas. Hotels in cities with direct rail access to airports raise 11% more revenue per room than hotels in those cities without.
Public Transportation Is a Safer Way to Travel Than by Automobile
- Traveling by public transportation is 10 times safer per mile than traveling by automobile.
- A person can reduce his or her chance of being in an accident by more than 90% simply by taking public transit as opposed to commuting by car.
Public Transportation Saves Money
- The average household spends 16 cents of every dollar on transportation, and 93% of this goes to buying, maintaining, and operating cars, the largest expenditure after housing.
- A household can save nearly $10,000 by taking public transportation and living with one less car.
Public Transportation Reduces Gasoline Consumption
- Public transportation’s overall effects save the United States 6 billion gallons of gasoline annually.
Public Transportation Reduces Carbon Footprint
- Communities that invest in public transit reduce the nation’s carbon emissions by 63 million metric tons annually.
Public Transportation Enhances Personal Opportunities
- 87% of trips on public transit have a direct impact on the local economy.
- Of all riders, 71% are employed and 7% are students.
- More than two-thirds of riders walk to their stop or station.
For more public transportation facts, see the Public Transportation Fact Book or APTA’s full research library.