Management & Operations

APTA reports ridership increases, reduced driving

Posted on March 10, 2008

U.S. households producing the least amount of carbon are located close to a bus or rail line, and 10.3 billion trips were taken on public transit in 2007, representing a 2.1 percent increase over the previous year, according to two separate studies released by APTA.

The first study, “Broadening the Connection between Public Transportation and Energy Conservation” was prepared for APTA by ICF International. Findings include: communities choosing to invest in public transportation reduce the nation’s carbon emissions by 37 million metric tons annually; the “leverage effect” of public transportation, supporting efficient land use patterns saves 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline; and 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. To view the full report, go to  

A separate APTA ridership report says that public transportation use is up 32 percent since 1995, more than double the growth rate of the population (15 percent) and up substantially over the growth rate for the vehicle miles traveled (VMT) on U.S. highways (24 percent) for that same period. Light rail (modern streetcars, trolleys and heritage trolleys) had the highest percentage of ridership increase among all modes, with a 6.1 percent increase in 2007, commuter rail posted the second largest ridership increase at 5.5 percent, and heavy rail (subways) ridership increased by 3.1 percent. Bus service saw an increase of 1 percent, but in communities with a population of less than 100,000, bus services saw an increase of 6.4 percent in 2007. To see the complete APTA ridership report go to

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