Therising cases of catastrophes around the world have raised eyebrows onthe subject on global warming. Global warming has to a large extentbeen attributed to human activities such as the cutting of trees andthe ever increasing levels of greenhouse gases are emitted in theatmosphere. Since the late 1990’s the world has come together in aneffort to put some mechanism to save mother earth but some countriessuch as the U.S have been adamant in ratifying such treaties such asthe Kyoto protocol. One of the suggestions raised in a bid to reducethe rate of greenhouse gas emitted was the use of publictransportation as opposed to owning a motor vehicle. The use ofpublic transportation was deemed to have a significant impact on theuse of gasoline which generates carbon gas.
Forexample, it is estimated that public transport in the U.S saves thecountry of over 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline while householdsliving near public transport systems drive almost 4,500 miles lessthan households living in areas without access to public transit[ CITATION Ame15 l 1033 ].Inthis essay, the author will delve into ways of promoting usage ofpublic transport in a city. First, the public transport should bemade a priority in the planning of the city. Secondly, public transitshould be at the heart of the community. Third, public transportshould be fantastic. Fourth, public transit should be made easy forpedestrians and finally, public transit should be the hottest thingin town.
Publictransport in the U.S could be the key to the rising challenges in theenvironment and energy sectors and if implemented well could helpimprove the quality of life for most American residents. Publictransportation or public transit refers to a shared transport systemfor passengers. Public transit is different from carpooling and theuse of taxi cabs because such modes of transportation are not sharedby strangers but rather people who are either affiliated or have hadsome acquaintance. Public transport therefore involves the use ofbuses, light rail, commuter trains, ferries and airlines. Most publictransit systems connect major cities to each other while small citiesare rarely served by public transport systems. The idea behind theuse of transport is to ease congestion in large towns and cut cost ondeveloping new roads as city population grows. Public transport is nodoubt a better alternative to driving one own car due to thefollowing reasons. First, using public transport is cheaper foreveryone in the community.
Thepassengers spend less money on buying gas and the local authoritiesspend less money on expanding road networks. Secondly, it reduces theresidents own carbon footprint. A carbon footprint is a metric use tomeasure the amount of carbon released in the atmosphere byindividuals. Third, public transit alleviates the stress related toparking and driving in the city. Fourth, public transport is saferthan driving a car in the city because it reduces the chances of anoccurrence of an accident. Finally, residents can either opt to doother things while travelling such as organizing meetings or readingbooks and can even opt to engage in some physical activity such aswalking to work [ CITATION Dep13 l 1033 ].
Oneof ways in which public transport can be promoted in the cities is byinvolving it from the word go. In other words, public transportationshould be a priority whenever a new city is developed or whenever anold city is being renovated. Cities should have a mix of bothresidential and commercial use in order to reduce the resident’sdependence on their vehicle. Public transportation should be involvedin every part of the decision making process when new facilities orcommercial projects are put up. This could include the removal ofbarriers and the changing of zones and requirements such as parkingfacilities. One of the success stories in the implementation ofpublic transit in the U.S involved a community agreement to create amixed development within a quarter mile radius of either a bus orrail station. This development combined residential with office,retail and public use within a walking distance.
Secondly,the best way to promote public transit in the city is by ensuringthat bus stops are at the heart of the community. This serves thecommunity in two ways, in that it creates activity at the center ofthe town and helps reduce the costs associated with land for parkingspace. Promoting the use of public transit in cities is easier thanit seems. One town in Indiana, Lafayette was able to achieve this.The town built offices, shop and residential places in closeproximity of each other. The developers then built social amenitiessuch as fountains and benches in the area while parking facilitieswere built behind commercial buildings as opposed to the center. Theprivate-public venture incorporated retail stores, theatres andrestaurants within a walking distance from the rail and bus line andas it turns out the planning paid off eventually.
Thefourth way of making public transport attractive is by making widesidewalks and narrower streets. It has been observed that bus andtrain riders usually walk to their stations and therefore there is anurgent need to make the pedestrians feel secure and safer. This canbe implemented through ensuring that the pedestrians feel securewalking on wide sidewalks and that the streets are narrowed in orderto slow the speed of vehicles on the road. One town in the south ofFlorida embarked on doing narrowing their street roads and wideningtheir sidewalks. In addition, landscaping was done on the streetssuch as adding some benches and putting up some decorative lightingand new bike lanes were added to increase pedestrian mobility totrain and bus stations.
Finally,making public transport system could be the way to go. Public transitcan be utilized to move people around cities during festivals, fairsand sporting events. This can be coupled with public transportoutlets that can be used to educate people as well as issue handoutsschedules and brochures about the public transit system. Instead ofresidents attending events with their own cars, the public transitcan offer transport facilities to event goers while they leave theircars at the bus terminal’s free parking lot. The use of publictransit system comes in handy for sports fans too who would like togo out and have fun without necessarily taking their own personalvehicles. It also saves them the hassle of finding parking spots andtraffic jams on the way to the stadiums[ CITATION Ame151 l 1033 ].
Properlyplanned and well executed public transit systems could not onlyutilize the available scarce resources but could also improve theliving standards of the residents living around the cities. Somecities around the world which have adopted the use of publictransport system are some of the success stories to be shared yearsfrom now. Major cities in Europe for instance have been veryeffective in implementing public transport and this has gone a longway in helping residents reach their destinations on time and savemoney by using public transit. For example, the Moscow Metro is onesuch success story as it is the busiest metro system in Europe. Thesame success is yet to be experienced in America where the use ofpersonal cars is the order of the day. However, in 2013 Americarecorded on its most successful years in public transportation inover 57 years. It was estimated that over 10.7 billion trips weremade by passengers who used public transit. It is evident that publictransportation might not be exciting to most Americans because of thefollowing reasons.
First,almost every household in America has a vehicle. In fact, mosthouseholds have at least one car in their garage. The use of publictransit system does not make much sense to Americans because of theirelaborate transport networks which ensure that most people get towork on time. Therefore proposing the use of public transport systemwould be depriving most Americans of their much cherishedconvenience.
Second,most Americans are used to driving their own cars and this is part oftheir tradition, lifestyle and way of life. Changing the status quois never easy and in most cases, the implementation of a new policyon public transport system is likely to be met with hostility.
Promotingthe use of public transit in a city should be embraced. This is afterconsidering recent statistics from the EPA stating that the U.S isresponsible for 25% of the world’s greenhouse emissions while itonly has 5% of the world’s population[ CITATION Nat15 l 1033 ].A good percentage of the carbon gas released in the atmosphere can beattributed to the use of personal cars of which most households havean average of 2 vehicles. Since there are no signs to warrant thatthe American population will be for the public transit idea, I wouldoffer the following suggestions. First, the parking fees for privatecars in parking lots should be hiked.
Theparking fees should be increased by a significant amount in order todiscourage city residents from driving their own cars to work. Inaddition, pedestrians who take public transport should be rewarded byaccumulating points every time their ride a bus or a train. Theaccumulated points which will be referred to as carbon credits canthey be deducted from their taxes. Secondly, gas prices in Americaare relatively cheap when compared with other parts of the world.Therefore, in order to have a direct effect on persons who drive, alevy on drivers who opt to use their own cars should be effected.Residents living in cities with access to public transport need to befined for failing to take public transport.
Itis evident that, it is impossible to talk about the subject of publictransit without considering the effects of driving a personal car.While the subject of public transport has been a success story insome parts of Europe, the U.S has yet to embrace this new idea.Public transportation provides a safer and clear environment forresident in cities and also cuts the cost of developing new roads inthe city. Promoting the use of public system should be a priority inplanning in cities. Public transport systems should be at the centerof the community and they should be fantastic. In addition, theyshould be easy for pedestrians to use by widening the sidewalks andnarrowing the roads. Finally, public transit should be the hottestthing in town as they could be utilized during events around thecity.
National Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data. (2015, January 5). Retrieved January 23, 2015, from EPA: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/usinventoryreport.html
American Association. (2015). Public Transportation Benefits. Retrieved January 23, 2015, from APTA: http://www.apta.com/mediacenter/ptbenefits/Pages/default.aspx
American Association. (n.d.). Unleash the Power of Public Transporation. Retrieved January 23, 2015, from APTA: http://www.apta.com/resources/reportsandpublications/Documents/10ways.pdf
Department of Transport. (2013, April). Promoting . Retrieved January 23, 2015, from Healtheir Workplace: http://healthierworkplacewa.com.au/media/2300/promoting-public-transport.pdf