Do You Use Transit? Report Finds It Saves 16 Million Hours of Traffic Delay

A newly released study shows the Seattle-Tacoma region's use of public transportation saved $367 million in fuel and other costs in 2011.

Seattle-Tacoma may have some of the nation's worst traffic, but the new Urban Mobility Report released last week by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute also shows our region enjoys some of the greatest benefits from use of public transportation.

Do you use public transportation? If not, what would prompt you to give it a try? Tell us in the comments section.

According to the study, Seattle-Tacoma residents saved 16 million hours of traffic congestion and $367 million in fuel and other costs by opting to take transit in 2011. Both figures are up slightly from 2010.

Those findings put Seattle-Tacoma in eighth place in the study's ranking of public transportation savings. Topping the list was New York City, followed by Chicago and Boston.

Many transit organizations around Puget Sound—including King County Metro—have recently struggled to maintain funding for all their existing routes. More than a dozen Metro bus routes were eliminated in September.

And Sound Transit has run into its own problems with its north commuter rail line, including multiple mudslides and low ridership.

For its part, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the industry's largest lobbying group, touted the report's findings and called for federal officials to help local organizations meet transit needs.

“This report serves as further evidence that Congress needs to find the funding mechanism to support a long-term surface transportation bill that will increase public transportation service and ensure that our infrastructure needs are met,” APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy said in a news release. “As this report points out, traffic congestion will continue to increase.  We need more public transportation, not less.” 

Sally Hyde February 12, 2013 at 03:14 PM
Mudslides or not, the Sounder train is a really relaxing and convenient way to commute to the south part of downtown Seattle. I wouldn't want to travel any other way. Also, we use the Sounder train to connect with the light rail to the airport. $3.75 Can only do this during rush hour time.
Bob Wilke February 12, 2013 at 03:54 PM
I have never used the Seattle transit system. I, like most American's prefer to drive my car.
Priya Sinha February 12, 2013 at 04:40 PM
I live in downtown Edmonds and work in downtown Seattle. I take the bus into work (because the bus stand is right across the street from my condo) and, take the train home (because it is not affected by traffic, and I know that if I miss one, there is another one in 30 minutes). I tend to drive when the sounder is down because the evening bus is never on time. I use public transportation about 80% of the time. I'd like to use public transportation more but, it is difficult because there is no service for weekends, early morning or late evenings. Also, there is no easy way for me to get from my house to the mall, for example. YES! I would absolutely give up driving my car, if public transportation were more readily available. I save money in wear and tear on my car, my insurance bill (I get a discount for driving fewer miles), and gas. Plus, I'm just a nicer person when I don't have to deal with traffic.
Caitlin Moran February 12, 2013 at 04:46 PM
Ha ha, I can definitely relate to that last point, Priya! Thanks for weighing in, everyone.


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