Public Transportation and reducing Global Warming

Excerpted from a TTA Press Release:

Research Triangle Park, N.C. – The most powerful weapon you can use to combat global climate change may be a daily transit pass. A new study released today shows if a solo commuter of a household switches their daily driving and uses public transportation then he or she can reduce their household carbon footprint by 10 percent. If one household’s driver gives up that second car and switches to public transit, a household can reduce its carbon emissions up to 30 percent.

“Switching to public transit gives a person the opportunity to immediately become part of the solution,” said John Tallmadge, Triangle Transit’s director of commuter resources.

Karen Ciccone, a Durham resident and frequent rider of TTA Express Route 600, agrees. "Reducing our greenhouse gas emissions is important to my family, as it should be for everyone. When I learned about the TTA's Express bus from Durham to Raleigh, it was a no-brainer for me. I've been a daily rider for more than a year now."

The study entitled Public Transportation’s Contribution to U.S. Greenhouse Gas Reduction was conducted for the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC).

While it is very important to employ environmentally friendly household activities, commuting by public transportation makes a more substantial impact. An individual switching to public transit can reduce their daily carbon emissions by 20 pounds; that’s more than 4,800 pounds in a year. This is far greater than the many actions people are being encouraged to take, for instance;

* Home weatherizing and adjusting the thermostat for heating and cooling saves 2,847 pounds of carbon per year. Transit use saves almost twice the carbon.
* Replacing five incandescent bulbs to lower wattage compact fluorescent lamps saves 445 pounds of CO2 per year. Transit use saves more than ten times the CO2.
* Replacing an older refrigerator freezer with a high efficient one saves 335 pounds of CO2 per year. Taking public transportation saves more than fourteen times the carbon.

The research points out that due to increases in vehicle miles traveled, the problem of pollution from vehicle emissions is accelerating. Greenhouse gas emissions from mobile sources have grown 27 percent from 1990 to 2004. Autos and light duty trucks represent about 61 percent of the total mobile source of greenhouse gas emissions. The report says single occupancy drivers switching their work commute to public transportation is one of the more effective ways to reduce the nation’s vehicle miles traveled while reducing harmful carbon dioxide.

“Commuting by public transportation is one of the most significant actions a household member can take to reduce their carbon footprint,” TTA’s Tallmadge added.

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