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 trees, the 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 the 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 types 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.

Various Public Transportation Modes

Public Transportation Consists of a variety of Modes, such as:

  • Buses
  • Cable cars
  • Commuter trains
  • Monorails and tramways
  • Light rail
  • Subways
  • Streetcars and trolleys
  • Taxi
  • Vanpool services
  • Ferries and water taxis
  • Paratransit services for senior citizens and people with disabilities

Some of them are discussed here.

Bus

Bus transport is one of the oldest and most common modes of transportation aimed at facilitating the 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 the expansion of railway networks, excellent travel information, and installation of the internet in trains. These ambitious projects should make train transportation a lot more attractive to enable people to leave their cars at home.

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Tram

A tram goes by many names such as tramcar, trolley, trolley car or streetcar depending on the city you live in. It’ a rail vehicle that runs on a track built on city streets. They can also run on a 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 slower 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.

Ferry

A ferry is a merchant vessel used to carry passengers, and sometimes vehicles and cargo, across a body of water. Ferries form a part of the public transport systems of many waterside cities and islands, allowing direct transit between points at a capital cost much lower than bridges or tunnels. A passenger ferry with many stops is sometimes called a water bus or water taxi.

Vanpool

This transit system allows groups of people to share the ride similar to a carpool, but on a larger scale with concurrent savings in fuel and vehicle operating costs. The key concept is that people share the ride from home or one or more common meeting locations and travel together to a common destination or work center.

Vanpools have a lower operating and capital cost than most transit vehicles, but due to their relatively low capacity, vanpools often require subsidies.

Benefits of Public Transportation

Economic Benefits

1. 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.

2. 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.

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3. 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 the generation of revenue to the city council.

4. Financial Benefits of Communities

Approximately for every dollar invested in public transportation, economic returns generated are $4, and for every $1 billion in investments in the sector, 50,000 jobs are generated and supported.

According to APTA, an investment of $10 million in public transportation generates about $30 million in increased business sales, and residential property values for homes located near public transit with high-frequency service “performed 42% better than other areas.”

5. Saves Money

Taking public transportation instead of owning a second vehicle can save individuals a significant amount of money each month in avoided gas, maintenance, parking, and other expenses. Household Expenses also reduced by using public transit as the family gets rid of buying one car and maintaining and operating the car.

Environmental benefits

1. 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 a reduction in the possibility of these dangerous diseases. A clean environment boosts living standards and brings immense benefits to the economy.

2. 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 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.

3. 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

1. Improves Health

Bringing health policies in line with transport can significantly reduce the burden on health services by 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%.

2. 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.

3. Freedom and Increased Mobility

Many people are unable to drive, and even drivers would appreciate the ability to walk, cycle, or take public transit, at least when it requires. Public transportation allows them personal mobility to get to work, to school, to the grocery store or doctor’s chamber, or for visiting friends, without having to engage a friend or relative to do the driving.

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Millions of non-drivers, specifically children, usually stuck up in automobile dominated suburban locales where they must depend on others for rides.

4. Frees up time

In public transportation, as someone else is doing the driving, which allows riders to free up a significant amount of time and attention and spend their transit time reading, working, studying, or being entertained instead of having to watch the road. It can also reduce commute time. When driving an automobile, one cannot sleep, read, write, relax, or do anything that transit takers are able to do.

5. Public Transportation is Safer

Taking public transport is safer than driving a car, considering not only the safety of the vehicles that are maintained on a regular basis than a personal car but also the driving habits and training of the operators. Transit operators receive much more training than the average automobile driver (120 minimum hours of training) and also receive refresher training on a regular basis as well.

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. Traveling by public transportation is 10 times safer per mile than traveling by automobile.

6. Social Connections Increase

Robert Putnam, the author of Bowling Alone, said that for every 10 minutes of additional travel time by car, social connections are reduced by 10%. Millennials consider public transportation as the best option for digital socializing and among the best for connecting with communities.

Often, car users are people who live in larger houses that are far from their places of work, and in areas where high-quality public transit is not available. Having more people in an area means you have a wider labor force, and there is a better chance of matching the needs of a job with the skills of a worker. Another benefit could be the information exchange.

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 to 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 shift to public transport.

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