How Public Transportation Might Just Save Your Life

Submitted by Charles Frost on Tue, 07/31/2007 - 13:21.

smog

by Sean Fisher, Cincinnati, Ohio on 07.31.07
According to a recent report in Forbes, the amount of driving we do back and forth is killing us...literally. From breathing air polluted with diesel particulates and other nasty pollutants to fatalities occurred in private automobiles, Forbes suggests that many of us are placing health far behind priorities such as McMansions, big box shopping, and congested commutes. Forbes compiled statistics from the American Lung Association's air pollution monitoring, average U.S. traffic delays from the Texas Transportation Institute, and U.S. per-capital car fatalities from the U.S Department of Transportation to find out what U.S. cities were most dangerous to drive in. Their results? Surprise, surprise...Southern California ruled the list. Both Riverside, California and Los Angeles were in the top three, separated by only Atlanta, Georgia. So, what is deemed the answer for this rising health problem? Public transportation and carpooling.
Of course, increased use of public transportation and carpooling takes enough cars off the road to reduce bad-news air particulates. However, public transportation in particular can help you avoid much of the pollution we breath in on our commutes to and from work.
According to the Forbes article:
Ultra-fine particulate matter has been linked with premature death, cardiovascular disease and respiratory illness, according to the California Air Resources Board. Though it takes Americans an average of 25 minutes to drive to work, according to 2005 U.S. Census Bureau figures, the board estimates that over 50% of a person's daily exposure to ultra-fine particles can occur during a commute.

The types of commutes shown to have low volumes of these particulates? Non-petrol public transportation systems such as subways, electric-powered trains and buses running on alternative fuels. Another commuting system not mentioned by Forbes? Walking or biking to work. As stated in the article, diesel particulates in cars were observed at four to eight times higher than a city's "ambient outdoor air." So, get out and walk or bike in that ambient outdoor air or hop on a streetcar/subway/bus and save your lungs a load of pollution. Via ::Forbes</A< p>

From: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2007/07/how_public_tran.php

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BILL'S PRESCIENT

When I'm on my daily walks I yell "THANKS FOR BIKING" to every bicyclist that passes.  They are saving our lungs...they should be appreciated.

This bicyclist thanks you for walking

I would like to bike to work more often. I love getting as much exercise as I can and I usually love being outdoors. I live only about a ten minute drive from both of my jobs - that seems to equal a 30 minute bike ride. I did bike to work a few times this summer but the pollution in the area I live made it really miserable.  The  total lack of trees and shade through half my route was also really oppressive.  It was a real dis appointment. There are so many places in Cleveland that seem to have been designed with total contempt for pedestrians and bicyclists. We have a lot of work to do to reclaim this city from the automobile.

We can do this

I truly think that Cleveland can be a bicycle commuter city.  As long as you have the upper body strength needed to lift your bike onto RTA's bus racks, you are good to go.  RTA--you need more racks.  The bus-bike option is liberating.  If, it feels like a bus will never come, you just get on your bike and make the trek.  I know this is just superstition, but I never have trouble finding a bus when I have my bike with me.  Now, if I am just standing at the bus stop--that's another story...but think of the friends you will meet!
 

Biker Bonanza

Great to see all the bike-love - I've become an actively ardent and beatific biker of late, averaging ten miles daily.  It's good to see dedicated lanes starting to emerge and with enough of a push groups like CAMBA (Cleveland Area Mountain Bike Association) and ClevelandBikes, which focuses on bicycle advocacy and policy but features a variety of other services, can play even more of a prolific role in facilitating an optimal bike culture for our  region.  Those interested in immersing in such a culture locally can enjoy participation with the collective education center that is the Ohio City Bike Coop.