The benefits of public transportation

Why a developed country is a place where the rich use public transportation

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By Jane

the benefits of public transportation

A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It’s where the rich use public transportation is a quote attributed to Gustavo Petro, former Mayor of Bogotá, Colombia.

This statement reflects a perspective on development that emphasizes the importance of efficient and accessible public transportation as a hallmark of societal progress. The idea behind the quote is that in a truly developed and equitable society, public transportation should be a reliable and convenient option for everyone, including those who might have the means to afford private vehicles.

The Key Benefits of Public Transportation

This is a point of view that we totally agree with, given that the benefits of public transportation far outweigh the disadvantages associated with this way of organizing transport. Let’s see more precisely what the key advantages of public transport are:


Public transportation is often more economical than owning and maintaining a personal vehicle. It can save individuals money on fuel, parking fees, maintenance, and insurance. Several studies around the world attest to the fact that -from a general economic perspective- it is generally better to use public than private transport.

Public transportation investments can stimulate the economy by creating jobs, boosting local businesses near transit routes, and attracting investment in surrounding areas.

Reduced Traffic Congestion

Public transportation helps alleviate traffic congestion by taking multiple individual vehicles off the road. This can lead to shorter commute times and less stress for all road users.

Environmental Sustainability

Public transportation is generally more environmentally friendly than private vehicles, especially when powered by cleaner energy sources. It helps reduce air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and overall carbon footprint.

In fact, if more people travel by public transport, it improves traffic, reduces congestion and helps emit less pollutants into the air. In the United States, it would be possible to save 1.5 million tons of CO2 emissions per year by reducing fuel consumption, especially diesel. Another advantage of shared transport is reduced noise pollution.

Individual and Traffic Safety

Public transportation is generally considered safer than private vehicles, as professional drivers undergo extensive training, and public transit vehicles are subject to strict safety regulations. If you are worried about  the safety of travelling on public transport; then it is good to know that a bus is considered to be 79 times safer than a car, whilst trains and subways are even safer than buses. Moreover, public transportation is associated with lower rates of traffic accidents and fatalities compared to private vehicle travel.

Energy Efficiency

Public transportation systems are often more energy-efficient on a per-passenger basis compared to private vehicles. They can transport a large number of people using relatively less energy per person.

Land Use and Urban Development

Public transportation can contribute to more sustainable urban development by promoting compact, transit-oriented development. This can reduce urban sprawl and encourage mixed-use developments near transit hubs.

benefits of public transportation
Public transportation offers a range of benefits to individuals, communities, and the environment.

Accessibility and Inclusivity

Public transportation provides an affordable and accessible mode of transportation for individuals who may not own a vehicle, including those with low incomes, the elderly, and people with disabilities.

Public transport can be used by everybody, students, adults, elderly or the disabled, and you can save a lot of money. In the United States, it was calculated that a middle class family who mainly uses public transport saves around 6,200 dollars per year.

Reduced Need for Parking Space

Public transportation reduces the demand for extensive parking infrastructure in urban areas, freeing up valuable space for other purposes such as parks, housing, or commercial development.

Community Connectivity

Public transportation systems connect different parts of a city or region, promoting social interaction and community cohesion. They enable people to access educational, employment, healthcare, and recreational opportunities more easily.

Reduced Dependency on Oil

Public transportation reduces dependence on oil, contributing to energy security and helping mitigate the impact of oil price fluctuations on the economy.

FOCUS: Bikenomics, why bikes are good for the economy

In a nutshell, the positives of using public buses, trains and planes outweigh the positives of using private transportation. The winners are not only the individuals, but also (and especially) the whole community.

Travelling by public transport is less stressful and it requires a minimum physical effort, thus providing a sense of well-being.

There are many benefits. But we live in a highly individualistic culture. From early in the childhood we wrongfully develop a distrust of urban transport; both in terms of effectiveness and its suitability.

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