Photo: Luxembourg Station.
Recently a reported asked me: “How do you make a case that we should spend money on public transportation?”
What a great question. It gives me an opportunity to systematically list all the arguments for that. I would put those into three buckets:
(1) Economic benefit. There has been much research on this, so I will be brief. It has been cited that for every dollar spent on public transit in the US, the economic benefit is about 5 dollars.
(2) Equity. It is well known that poor neighborhoods tend to have the least access to public transit. By improving access for people living in those neighborhood, we can improve their economic well-being and social mobility and therefore achieve better equity.
(3) Environmental and health benefit. Public transit leads to less pollution and less congestion. Lower noise in the city, too, especially if cities adopt electric buses. All those things improve public health too.
Public transit is not for everyone. In fact, there could even be some trade-offs for some people switching from private driving to using public transit.
But for governments at all levels, it is about prioritize. I do hope public transit is high up on the list.