Air Pollution Benefits of Public Transit

Increased availability and use of public transportation dramatically reduces motor vehicle emissions.

  • Compared with private vehicles, public transportation produces, on average, per passenger mile, 95 percent less carbon monoxide, 92 percent fewer volatile organic compounds, 45 percent less carbon dioxide and 48 percent less nitrogen oxide.9
  • During the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, expanded transportation services reduced morning peak auto use by 22.5 percent and reduced mobile source emissions. There was a 44.1 percent reduction in asthma-related medical visits among HMO enrollees.10, 11

Emissions Reductions from Public Transportation Use

Source: Shapiro, Robert J. et al, Conserving Energy and Preserving the Environment: The Role of Public Transportation, July 2002