I came across an interesting chart this evening. It was produced by the American Public Transit Association, www.publictransportation.org, and it shows that taking public transit makes a lot more difference in your own personal carbon emissions “footprint” than anything else you can do:
The chart is from 2008, but I think the numbers are still good. I realize that it’s a self-serving calculation from an organization that depends on public support for transit, but it has the ring of authenticity.
As I intend to tell the Montgomery County Council next week, the new carbon reduction laws imposed by the State of Maryland may soon overtake most, if not all, of the many sustainability initiatives proposed by the County. That means that the County should be looking as much as possible at ways to reduce carbon. As the APTA chart shows, the number one thing the County should be doing is increasing transit useage and reducing car commuting. That can be done by “green urbanism,” a new coinage for New Urbanism, which itself is a fancy way of saying “ditch the car.”
By the way, just as interesting, is the APTA’s calculation of the actual dollars you would save by taking transit. For people in the Washington, D.C. area in October 2009? $8,824 a year. http://www.publictransportation.org/facts/091006_transit_savings.asp.