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The Health Benefits of Mass Transit

Photo: Eric Reed

According to a recent report released by the American Public Transportation Association, public transit riders experience several health benefits including lower risk of being involved in an automobile accident as well as better fitness and less social isolation. The report concludes:

That people living in transit-oriented “smart growth” communities enjoy several health benefits, not seen in other communities, including residents drive less, exposing them to a lower risk of fatal vehicle accidents.

Such communities also have less pollution, because public transportation produces far less emissions per passenger mile than private automobiles. In addition, people who live near quality public transit are more likely to undertake regular physical activity than residents of automobile-dependent communities.”

People familiar with transit and its benefits know that these benefits are a no-brainer. Unfortunately, many in the Cincinnati metro area have no alternative but to drive our clogged expressways to get to where they want to go. Buses only go so far to provide adequate service to some “riders of choice” and those who cannot drive, especially when it is difficult to navigate such a complex bus system that requires exact change to ride. The Cincinnati Streetcar is a first but worthwhile step towards breaking those barriers by offering a dependable route with an easier schedule and ticketing method. With increased transit mobility, not only does the urban core become more attractive from an economic development standpoint (the ability to reduce parking requirements alone increases potential density), but also further benefits urban dwellers with a safer and healthier means of getting around.