STATEPOINT — (StatePoint) Demand for public transportation is on the rise. In fact, 10.7 billion trips were taken on public transportation in 2013, the highest in 57 years, according to the latest statistics from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA.)
Even those who drive should take note of these statistics, which show that communities that invest in public transportation stand to gain. APTA figures point to a four-fold economic return on investment for every dollar spent on public transportation.
“Where public transportation goes, businesses thrive, property becomes more attractive, and tax revenues increase,” says Michael Melaniphy, President and CEO of APTA.
Substantial and robust public transportation infrastructure is one key innovation that helps to support economic growth in local communities, say experts. With federal funding for public transportation poised to be a critical issue for Congress this year, public transportation advocates are calling for funding legislation that is reliable and sustainable in order to plan, build, maintain and repair these systems.
“As we approach the May 31 deadline for a new surface transportation bill, it is critical that our national leaders come together to create legislation that will ensure years of economic growth and opportunity for communities across the country,” says Melaniphy.
Here are several ways such investment in public transportation could affect an individual community:
• If you are a homeowner, public transportation in a community could spell financial security during times of economic uncertainty. Residential property values performed 42 percent better on average during the last recession if they were located near public transportation with high-frequency service, according to a report by the National Association of Realtors and APTA.
• Seventy percent of millennials prefer a city or town that features a multimodal transportation option that includes public transportation. By investing in public transportation infrastructure, a community increases the likelihood of attracting new talent and industry to the area, especially as public transportation systems adopt technologies like smartphone charging stations on vehicles and facilities and fare collection via smartphone.
• Public transportation is a 61 billion dollar a year industry that puts people to work – 1.1 million jobs are created or sustained annually. As such, public transportation advocates say that by supporting measures that improve these systems, local residents will be doing their community a favor.
Information about the impact of public transportation on local communities is available at www.publictransportation.org.
No matter how you get around your community, a robust public transit system stands to impact you and your local economy.