Kudos, if you are one of the millions utilizing the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) day to day. As of April 2011, the CTA boasts the nation’s 2nd largest public transportation system. While admittedly, riding the CTA can be a less than pleasurable experience from time to time, you can feel better about yourself for contributing to a greener city.
There are several benefits of using public transportation. By riding the CTA even once, you are helping to:
- Reduce traffic congestion (You are welcome, drivers)
- Improve air quality
- Reduce noise
- Reduce overall energy consumption
- Provide jobs & boost economic growth
According to American Public Transportation Association (APTA) President William Millar, “U.S. public transportation use reduces America’s carbon footprint by 37 million metric tons of carbon emissions and saves 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline each year.”
As part of a nationwide initiative to decrease negative environmental effects of mass transit in 2012, the US Department of Transportation allocated $112 million in funds to 46 energy-efficient mass transit projects across seven states. Green transit options include the use of ultra-capacitor technology for hybrid buses and light rails.
The CTA itself strives to reduce its environmental impact through: sustainable transportation, clean vehicles, multimodal connections, efficient facilities and resource recycling. Chicago ridership of mass transit has increased significantly since 1997
So next time you find yourself crammed up against a not-so-fresh smelling stranger on your morning ‘L’ commute, just remember you are an environmental martyr! Like me, you’ll be delighted to learn that the CTA has enacted a plan to reduce crowding during weekday rush hours by adding 48 bus routes and 17 rail trips across the city. Read more about the CTA green initiatives here.