Is Riding Transit Necessarily Better For The Environment Than Driving?

In the third of a 5-part "Rethinking Green" series, the National Post casts doubt on public transit's ability to reduce global warming while praising driving; applying similar scrutiny to recycling and aquaculture in the first and second installments

December 14, 2009, 9:00 AM PST

By Irvin Dawid


Can driving be more sustainable than riding transit? What if the buses are continually empty? Or does it even matter if the primary goal of public transit is to serve those who don't have access to private auto transportation? These are the type of questions asked by the reporter in National Post's "Rethinking Green" five-part series.

"If the goal is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, air pollution and gas consumption, and maximize the environmental impact of sustainability spending, we may be better off without publicly funding transit at all."

"Unfortunately, right now the state of the art is that you're generally better off with private automobiles when you're talking about energy utilization. About the only way that transit can be competitive for energy or for environmental quality is if the transit lines gets an incredible amount of use, far higher than is now normally the case," says Tom Rubin, a transit policy consultant in California, and former chief financial officer of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority."

Thanks to Thomas A. Rubin

Friday, December 11, 2009 in National Post via The Vancouver Sun

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