As a designer and planner, my love for mass transportation is strong. With that said, I realize not all of America feels that way. I grew up in a suburban utopia that said no to a multiple major development opportunities because they would bring in buses of people. Buses of people that were not as good as the residents of Suburban Utopia. The case for investment in public transportation can be a lengthy one, as seen in this twenty-page document from the American Public Transportation Association. Or really short, like the gif below.
In my mind, there are three main points that should considered (or reconsidered) by even the most staunch, anti-mass transit followers.
- It is not sustainable, in every sense of the word, for every person to use an automobile. It has been proven there are not enough resources to provide more and more automobiles for every individual in America. The planet as well cannot sustain the continued rise of carbon emissions, like those from automobiles. The automobile requires more investment in infrastructure than that of the automobile (i.e. streets, freeways, and parking lots/structures.)
- Cars provide a longer commute a majority of the time; public transportation can, in fact, shorten a commute. A shorter commute allows more time for other activities, having a waterfall effect like improving happiness and mental health, allowing for more active activities (exercise,) and even more time for socialization with friends and family. Since America is all about productivity, a person can actually be more productive while on public transit than while driving alone in an automobile. Basic actions, like reading/replying to emails, surfing the web for the answer to a question, and reading, can all be done while on your short commute, whereas driving requires 100% of your attention.
- Mass transit does favor larger cities: as the number of inhabitants per square mile decreases, the efficiency of a mass transportation system also decreases. Although this statistic is one on the opposite side of pro-mass transit, it’s important to remember that half of the US population lives in metropolitan areas, or cities and their surrounding suburbs. These areas will always be more beneficial with transit