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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

The Living on Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of

Facts about... the Boston M-T-A public transportation system.


CURWOOD: This week, America's first subway celebrates its 100th anniversary. The underground trolley left Boston's Park Street station on September first, 1897. The final destination: Boylston station only a few blocks away. But the journey signaled the beginning of a new era in transportation. Americans will take more than 2 billion trips on 15 different subway systems this year. A recent study by the Campaign for Efficient Passenger Transportation shows that even though public transit accounts for less than 2% of total trips taken, it keeps over 5 million cars off the road each year. Without public transit, the nation would have to add 27,000 miles of road and deal with enough traffic to fill a 9-lane highway bumper to bumper from New York to Los Angeles. The same study also found that when considering health, safety, and environmental costs, the yearly savings to society from the use of public transit is near $300 billion. And taking the subway or bus has other benefits as well. One recent study found that congestion causes drivers to triple the amount of unkind thoughts about fellow drivers. And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.



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