Why America Needs Better Public Transportation

A brief disclaimer before I begin: I acquired all of the information below through various websites. Some present their opinions alongside the statistics. I will be presenting my opinion alongside the facts I’ve gathered throughout this thread (that being, more or less: public transportation is good).

Without any further ado, let’s get into it!

To start off: 29 people die every day as a result of drunk drivers. In 2016 alone, 10,497 people died in drunk driving incidents. In 2015, 3.477 people died as a result of accidents with distracted (ex: texting) drivers, while an additional 391,000 were injured.

Here are some distracted & drunk driving statistics from the UK for comparison.

While the US isn’t quite the worst culprit of drunk driving, it has double the percentage of drunk driving related deaths compared to the UK, and nearly 8 times that of China.

“Americans die on the roads at twice the rate of Europeans.” While there are many factors that go into this (traffic laws, road construction, etc.), it makes sense that countries that have much more accessible public transportation would have lower traffic-related deaths.

Drunk driving destroys lives. 

Distracted driving destroys lives. This might be just a PSA, but it’s something that has impacted too many drivers, passengers & innocent bystanders. 

Another issue: driving is EXPENSIVE (especially with gas prices lately). Best case scenario, if someone has a used car that doesn’t require any repairs, accounting for the average used car being driven 15,000 miles p/a, the cost is around $24,369 for one year (including the price of buying the car).

Although the above math does account for the average cost of insurance, I thought it bore mentioning that there are only 4 states in America that do not require car insurance. I know in Georgia that if you drive without insurance they can pretty much arrest you on the spot.

Here’s some information on America’s current public transportation statistics:


It bears mentioning that the information for how unaffordable public transit is across these communities was much easier to find than information on affordable public transport.


On the other hand, public transportation in the UK is a lot more practical.

That isn’t to say that the UK provides cheap public transportation by any means — however, it is more accessible and efficient than public transport in the US, & in addition, most of the services (bus, rail, underground, etc.) are integrated, which is convenient.

This article by the Aspen Institute highlights the importance of eliminating the idea of “choice riders” and focusing on the “core riders” (people who depend on public transportation).

The excerpts from articles below discuss some of the differences between public transportation in the US v the UK. The second article voices the opinion that the author would rather have more mobility (the argument for cars) than more public transportation (specifically, passenger trains).

HOWEVER, that article does not account for the inequity of the current public transportation system in the US, and barely accounts for the health, economic and environmental benefits that accompany public transportation (when done right).
Below are just some of the many benefits (and anticipated benefits) that public transportation has: applebananacucumberdateeucalyptusfruitgarnishhotdogimhungryjuicekiwilemonmuscadinenewtoctarine
Not to mention that public transportation makes traveling much more accessible to those who are blind or unable to drive for a number of other reasons.
Public transportation includes sidewalks! I live in a fairly suburban area where the sidewalks are erratic & cut off (like in the second picture). If we had more sidewalks then people in my community could actually walk to school / stores / restaurants…

What’s more environmentally friendly than a sidewalk?

Someone conceptualized this map of a public transit system expanding from the current MARTA system in Atlanta and it’s honestly a dream.dream

I think it is SO important for so many reasons that we make public transportation more accessible across America. Done right, it is the equitable, economical, environmentally-conscious, and SAFE solution to our current transportation problems.

Becca Jean

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