What is Public Transportation?

The impacts of greenhouse gasses, for example, environmental pollution, respiratory diseases, and global warming are well documented. Many factors contribute to increased levels of these harmful gasses including cutting down of trees, use of fossil fuels, and emission from industries and vehicles. One factor that is consistently ignored, yet contributes more to greenhouse emissions is personal transportation, driving personal cars to be precise. Those living in highly populated cities feel the impacts of emissions by vehicles. And with technology traveling at lung-bursting speed coupled with rapidly expanding middle class, car ownership is projected to skyrocket. This means the universe will be polluted more than ever. The only way to reverse this trend is adoption of public transportation.

Public transportation is a form of travel offered locally that enables more people to travel together along designated routes. Typical examples of forms of public transportation include buses, trains, and trams. High-speed rails, airlines, and coaches dominate public transportation between cities. Most public transport services operate on stipulated timelines. Some transportation systems operate on a full capacity basis, which means the vehicle will not start until it’s full. However many cities across the world provide shared taxis when the essence of time is a factor.

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Various Public Transportation Modes

Bus

Bus transport is one of the oldest and most common modes of transportation aimed at facilitating movement of people within a city or to remote locations. It has the advantage of being affordable and convenient if there is no traffic. Long ago, buses were managed by individuals, but these days, there is an upsurge of bus services that are clean and efficient. In fact, most federal governments want all public transport buses to be sparkling clean, embrace the cashless models, be economical and produce fewer emissions by 2020. The bus services are also required to be accessible to people with disabilities.

Train

Train transportation is rapidly growing. This is evident by the sea of humanity lining up at railway stations to commute to and from work. Most governments are ramping up the growth of this mode of transportation by increasing the number of trains and upgrading existing ones in the busiest routes. These governments are stepping up their efforts because trains contribute immensely to the reduction of traffic congestion and keeping more cars out of roads. Specific aspects that are targeted include expansion of railway networks, excellent travel information, and installation of Internet in trains. These ambitious projects should make train transportation a lot more attractive to enable people to leave their cars at home.

Tram

A tram goes by many names such as tramcar, trolley, trolley car or street car depending on the city you live in. It’ a rail vehicle that runs on track built on city streets. They can also run on segregated right of way. The networks or tracks managed by tramcars are known as tramways. Trams are mostly operated by electricity and are found in large cities where demand for public transportation is high. They are also best suited for large cities because they have the capacity to transport many passengers. A bus, on the other hand, is designed to transport fewer passengers.

Light rail

This is a mode of urban public transport that lies between a tram and train. Light rail operates at higher capacity and travels long distances than a tram. However, it travels slowly than a train and has more stops than a train or tram. It’s, therefore, ideal for regional routes with short distances.

Metro systems

Metro systems have the highest performance, speed, capacity and reliability compared to other modes of transportation. They are common in large cities across the world such as New York, London, Rotterdam and so on. Metro systems operate underground, which means they don’t interact with normal road traffic. Just like trams and buses, the urban regions and provinces are fully responsible for the safety of people and the metro systems underground. The metro lines are also supervised by relevant authorities to ensure transportation goes on without any glitch. They require high initial capital investment, but once up and running; they are ideal for efficient functioning and quality of life in major cities across the world.

Regional taxi

This is, ideally, public transportation on demand and offers door-to-door transportation. The benefit of regional taxis is that they travel to destinations where traditional public transportation modes don’t. The pricing of regional taxis lies between regular taxis and public transport.

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Benefits of Public Transportation

Economic Benefits

  • Reduces congestion

Urban congestion is one of the greatest challenges of developed nations. Statistically, Australian cities incur a cumulative annual cost of $12.9 billion due to traffic congestion. If transport systems are not modernized in the near future, this cost could go up to $20 billion. The solution to this nightmare lies in the expansion of public transportation. For instance, a single railway can get rid of 1000 cars from the roads.

  • Enhances productivity

Public transportation plays a significant role in enhancing opportunity and productivity by moving knowledge, labor, and skills between and within markets. In the modern globalized world, capital, labor, and enterprise search out for the most productive markets, promoting healthy competition and symbiotic economic growth. Investing in remarkable public transportation instigates a series of economic growth.

  • Increases land value

Improved access to public transport has shown to increase land and property value. Planning that puts public transportation development on top of its agenda rips huge benefits in the long run. Land that would have been used for parking and roads is put to profitable use such as generation of revenue to the city council.

Environmental benefits

  • Ensures a cleaner ecosystem

Public transportation significantly reduces the number of cars on the road. This means less pollution from motor vehicle emissions. Fumes produced by vehicles can lead to respiratory diseases. Few cars on the road mean reduction of the possibility of these dangerous diseases. A clean environment boosts living standards and brings immense benefits to the economy.

  • Prevents global warming

As the impacts of global warming become more apparent, world leaders are looking for ways to bring down these effects. One of the easiest sectors to deal with is the transportation, and this involves having fewer automobiles on the roads. Cars emit greenhouse gasses, which are responsible for global warming. By reducing the number of vehicles, the amount of greenhouse gas produced will not be enough to cause global warming.

  • Reduces carbon footprint

Public transportation offers an immediate alternative for individuals seeking to reduce their energy use and carbon footprints. This action far exceeds the benefits of other energy saving household activities, such as using energy efficient light bulbs or adjusting thermostats.

Social benefits

  • Improves health

Bringing health policies in line with transport can significantly reduce the burden on health services through encouraging active lifestyles. Public transport ensures citizens are at their best healthwise by encouraging them to walk to bus and railway stations, at the same time alleviating the stress that comes with driving a car on congested roads. Research learns that every hour spent driving a car increases the possibility of obesity by more than 6%.

  • Benefits the aging population

Research studies indicate that the number of people older than 65 years is projected to go up from 14% in 2006 to 22% by 2030. Older adults heavily depend on public transport to access essential services. This is why public transport authorities must work hard to cater to this aging population.

While public transportation may not be enjoyable to many like riding in your personal car, it plays a huge role in reducing traffic congestion, minimizing emissions and according you a whole lot of quality time to watch and interact with your neighbors. To add to that, public transportation lets you relax, read newspaper or book, take a nap during commute rather than experiencing the stress that comes with driving on the busy roads. Enhancing the quality and efficiency of public transport systems is critical to encouraging individuals to change up to public transport.

Image credit: Unsplash , pixabay

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.