Study: Public Transit Provides Significant and Diverse Benefits
A new report, The Benefits of Transit in the United States: A Review and Analysis of Benefit-Cost Studies [pdf] by Christopher E. Ferrell of the Mineta Transportation Institute, summarizes a review of economic evaluation studies that estimated benefit/cost ratios for U.S. public transit systems. It found that transit services provide significant, measurable net benefits in various operating environments:
- Transit benefits often substantially exceed costs in rural and small urban areas—not just big cities.
- Transit typically pays for itself in congestion relief benefits for mid- to large-sized urban areas.
- Jobs and economic stimulus are among the largest benefit categories of transit.
- Transit improves health care access and outcomes while reducing costs.
- Transit saves people money, with transit in larger urban areas benefiting more people.
- Public transit saves lives, but conventional analysis methods tend to undervaluing the role transit plays in reducing accidents and their costs to society.
The study is an important contribution toward a comprehensive evaluation of public transit.