Transit Benefits You

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How Transit Benefits YOU!

Download Nina Szlosberg's "Transit and Our Quality of Life" presentation to the Institute for Emerging Issues
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TRANSIT STRENGTHENS THE ECONOMY by creating and supporting jobs and saving individuals money. 

  • Households in the Southern U.S. spend more on transportation than on any other category including shelter, food or health care – an average of $677 a month, or $8100 per year (includes cost of vehicle, insurance, gas and maintenance).  Imagine what you would do with a few extra hundred dollars a month that you didn’t have to spend on your car?  (US Department of Labor’s Consumer Expenditure Survey).
  • Transit saves you money.  Transit households use only 9% of their income on transportation vs. 25% for non-transit users.
  • Transit systems lure new business and future employers.  Transit systems attract new businesses as employers want transportation options for their employees.  The Triangle is one of the few metro areas in the US lacking a substantial regional transit system. 
  • Transit provides transportation options for workers.  Employees want reliable, convenient transportation options to get to work across the Triangle. 
  • Transit projects spur economic activity.  For example, the 400M Lynx light rail system in Charlotte, North Carolina spurred $1.86 billion in economic development along the nine mile corridor.  About 50 new development projects have been sparked in Uptown Charlotte, including 3,350 new condominium and apartment units, seven new office projects, two new retail projects, and three hotels.    
  • Transit creates jobs.   More than 800 workers helped build the 9.6 mile LYNX Blue Line in Charlotte.  These projects created or maintained thousands of jobs ranging from construction workers to design firms, office workers to truck drivers.


TRANSIT IMPROVES THE ENVIRONMENT by reducing air pollution, supporting walkable communities and enabling land conservation.

  • Transit means driving less, decreasing carbon emissions.  Currently, transit in the US is reducing emissions by 37 million metric tons. This is equivalent to every household in NYC, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Denver, and Los Angeles completely stopping electricity use.   Worsening air quality trends in the Triangle puts Federal transportation funding at risk.
  • Transit is critical for protecting natural resources, given dramatic population growth.  The Triangle’s population will explode by 1 million people by 2035.  Transit protects the Triangle’s precious forests, watersheds and farms because rail lines and stations can help guide where future growth and development goes.
  • Transit improves water quality.  Nitrates from auto emissions are a significant cause of declining water quality in the Triangle.  Nitrates from autos wash into critical watersheds of our drinking water reservoirs.  Transit reduces the number of vehicles on the road.
  • Transit allows us to do more with less land, while creating community. Transit oriented developments focus on making shopping, working and living accessible by a short walk or a transit ride.  Creating vibrant urban centers allows us to preserve special open spaces for recreation and environmental protection.


TRANSIT PROMOTES ENERGY SECURITY by reducing dependence on foreign oil.

  • Current public transportation usage reduces U.S. gasoline consumption by 1.4 billion gallons each year.
  • National fuel savings from coordinated land use and transit investment could double to 2.8 billion gallons each year.
  • Forty-six percent of U.S. petroleum imports come from OPEC countries: Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Libya, Nigeria, Venezuela.  Increasing transit use means buying less foreign oil.



  • Baby boomers are aging, and 30% of people living in Triangle Region are 45+.  Transit and vibrant development centers near transit provide transportation and housing choices for seniors and empty nesters looking to downsize.
  • More than 21% of older Americans do not drive.  More than 50% of older non-drivers stay home on any given day because they lack transportation options. Transit can help people “age in place” and continue to live in the communities they love.
  • Many people who have disabilities rely upon transit for transportation.  Better transit service provides needed access to jobs and recreation and ensures we all can get around.



  • Transit expansion can spur the development of new housing options for people across the income spectrum.   The Triangle plan requires an affordable housing assessment and plan to provide a variety of housing options near rail lines.


TRANSIT SUPPORTS A BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE by providing more transportation choices and a healthier lifestyle.

  • ADDRESSING LOST TIME and PRODUCTIVITY:  Increasing traffic congestion is one of the most important issues facing the greater Triangle region.  The average Triangle resident spends 34 hours per year stuck in traffic.  That’s the equivalent of $733 per person in wasted fuel and time.  As population grows by over 1 million, traffic congestion will increase significantly.
  • REDUCING OBESITY: Research shows walking associated with public transit can have a substantial, positive impact on obesity and physical well-being. 
  • PROTECTING OPEN SPACE: Preservation of high value open space is dependent on using land more efficiently, and organizing where we live, work and play in ways that promote walking, and transit access.



  • Young professionals and students increasingly want an urban life style with walkable communities and are relying more and more on transit.  Housing markets are shifting towards urban housing.
  • The Triangle ranks high in percentage of our workforce in the ‘Creative Class.’*  The next generation of work force will be dominated by the 'Creative Class' -- now 40 million workers or 30 percent of the U.S. workforce. These “knowledge workers and “Super Creative Core” tend to want more vibrant lifestyle centers supported by transit.


Click here to download a copy of a Transit Benefits fact sheet

Data Source:  Nina Szlosberg, Move America Now