Despite gasoline prices reaching a four-year low of $1.73 this weekend, Americans continue to use more public transportation.
In fact, in the third quarter of 2008, Americans took a 2.8 billion trips, a record 6.5% increase over the same period in 2007, according to a new American Public Transportation Association report. Vehicle miles driven declined 4.6%.
"The record increase in public transportation trips demonstrates the exceptional value of public transportation in todays economy," said APTA President William W. Millar. "The fact that public transit ridership surged while gas prices and highway travel declined, shows a growing demand for more bus and rail services."
Public transportation has been increasingly popular, with 2007 ranking as the most heavily trafficked year in the last half century. However, the lowest of the low gasoline prices aren't reflected in the latest data, and neither are the expected decline in commuting trips by the 1 million-plus Americans who have lost jobs recently.
President-elect Barack Obama has suggested that one way to put people back to work is to invest in new public infrastructure, including public transportation.
APTA estimates that, over a period of two years, an estimated $32.4 billion in transit investment projects could be started that would create more than 900,000 jobs.
Here's a look at some data about public transportation:
These U.S. locations showed the most increase in light rail usage in the third quarter of 2008, relative to the third quarter of 2007 (increased ridership is noted). Overall ridership was up 8.5%.
Overall bus ridership was up 7.2%.
Overall commuter rail ridership was up 6.3%.
Total ridership is up 5.2%.
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