Join the Movement

Members of Voices for Public Transit know public transportation benefits everyone. We’re keeping it moving.

Join the Movement

Members of Voices for Public Transit know public transportation benefits everyone. We’re keeping it moving.

The Latest

  • THANK YOU! Advocacy Helps Protect Transit Funding

    We have great news! On October 31, the U.S. Senate passed the Jones-McSally Amendment to prevent a $1.2 billion cut to fiscal year 2020 funding for public transportation.

    Thanks to your efforts to contact your Senators, this legislation passed by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 82-11.

    Advocacy Helps Win the Day

    If the Senate had rejected the Jones-McSally Amendment, every transit system throughout the nation would have faced a 12 percent across-the-board cut. This cut would have hurt millions of Americans by reducing travel options that connect people to work, school, medical care, and other services affordably and reliably.

    Voices for Public Transit advocates from around the country sprang into action when the threat of funding cuts arose. A supermajority of Senators across the political spectrum listened and responded by voting to support transit funding.

    We want to shout out a big “THANK YOU!” to every Voices for Public Transit advocate who reached out to their Senators on this critical issue.

    Looking Ahead

    The FAST Act expires next year. We need to start urging Congress now to make sure we don’t slide back into old, bad habits of kicking the can down the road a few months at a time. We should never again have to face years of short-term funding. That approach limits our communities’ and regions’ ability to keep our existing transportation infrastructure working efficiently, let alone plan, build, and expand into more flexible, modern transit networks that can better meet today’s transportation needs.

    To help achieve a new long-term transportation bill in 2020, advocacy will be as important as ever—it may even be more important than it was in 2015, given our current political gridlock.

    Next year, we’ll be calling on the Voices for Public Transit community to tell Congress more investment in public transit is what we need to get America where we want to go.
  • The Community Spirit of Public Transit

    Throughout October, we’ve been imagining how scary our world would be without public transit. We’ve imagined a future with more polluted air and more clogged roads.

    Today, we envision something even more frightening—the decay of community spirit itself.

    Riding Together

    When we stand up to support investment in public transportation, we have facts and figures on our side. We know that $1 invested in transit pays off with $4 in economic returns. We know that transit saves our nation 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline per year. We know traveling by public transportation is 10 times safer per mile than traveling by automobile.

    But the value of transit goes even further. When we ride together, we build community.

    Just about every regular transit rider has seen acts of kindness on buses and rail. The young skateboarder who gives up his seat for an older woman and her shopping cart. The businessman who helps a mother pick up her baby’s dropped bottle. The multi-modal cyclist who helps a disabled vet carry his walker onto the bus.

    Moments like these happen every day on transit. And they remind us that we’re all in this life—and this nation—together, even if we never know each other’s names. There are already so many things that tear us apart. It would be chilling to see our community spirit evaporate even further without public transportation to help bring us into contact with people we might not otherwise get the chance to encounter.

    Caring for the Community

    Even if we don’t ride personally, transit is also one of the ways we take care of each other.

    Transit provides mobility to people who otherwise might not be able to get around. Millions of young people, older Americans, people with disabilities, and those who don’t have access to a car find a lifeline in public transportation.

    Public transportation supports public health and greater quality of life. Work and school are within reach for many because of public transportation. And access to transportation—including public transit—is a leading factor in helping Americans access opportunity and improve their standard of living, reducing the strain on public safety net programs.

    Congress has the power to support communities in every state by increasing its support of public transportation. In this downright frightening era of growing division and income inequality in America, now is the time for Congress to renew its commitment to public transportation for communities of all sizes.

    Do You Have an Uplifting Transit Story?

    This month, we’ve already asked you for scary stories about what a world without transit could mean. Now we want to hear your best, most uplifting stories about how transit helps people in your community. Share your experience on the Voices for Public Transit website, Facebook page, or Twitter feed.

  • Public Transit Fights the Specter of Traffic

    Traffic congestion can be downright terrifying—not just around Halloween, but all year long. And if we lived in a world without public transportation, the scourge of traffic would be even worse.

    Traffic’s Economic Toll

    Even if you don’t ride transit, you benefit because it helps control traffic by lowering the number of cars on the road. Even so, traffic congestion is a huge drain on our nation’s economy.

    According to one study, congestion cost the U.S. economy $305 billion in 2017. This figure includes lost worker productivity, wasted fuel, and the increased cost for moving goods through congested areas.

    It’s safe to say, in a world without public transportation, the economic impact of traffic would be even more severe.

    Environmental Consequences

    Here’s another scary fact about traffic congestion: It increases emissions and lowers air quality. In many areas, vehicle emissions are the primary source of air pollution—and more cars stuck in traffic for longer periods of time makes air pollution worse .

    A study from the Harvard School of Public Health even links air pollution from traffic congestion to premature death. 

    Public transit helps fight traffic and the pollution it causes. But in a world without transit, we would have dirtier, more unhealthy air—and more emissions contributing to climate change.

    The Horror of Being Stuck in Traffic

    It’s fair to say that many people bear traffic jams with good humor. Some commuters enjoy passing the time by listening to podcasts, audio books, or music.

    But for many Americans, traffic adds stress. Long commutes—made longer by traffic—are more stressful, according to one study. Researchers also found that driving is more stressful than other forms of transportation. 

    In a world without transit, millions more Americans would likely be sitting alone in private cars, isolated and stuck in traffic. This isolation and stress undermine public health. On the other hand, transit makes for healthier communities by offering a less stressful form of transportation and by bringing people together.

    Congress has the power to help fight traffic congestion and its terrible impacts by investing in public transportation. Will lawmakers help repel the traffic monster that wreaks havoc on American transportation?

    Do You Have a Traffic Horror Story?

    What’s the worst traffic jam you were ever stuck in? How would public transit have helped? Share your story on the Voices for Public Transit website, Facebook page, or Twitter feed.
  • Innovation, Technology, and Mobility

    Innovation and technology are transforming transportation just like every other part of our lives. Here are just a few examples of how technology is improving both individual rider experiences and public transportation’s overall impact.

    For Riders: Mobility in Your Hand

    Multi-modal Transportation Flexibility

    Information technologies now connect people with multiple modes of transportation through their smartphones and tablets. Millions of Americans combine multiple modes of transportation in a single trip, like using rideshare to go the last mile home from the light rail station, biking in to work and then taking the bus home in the evening, or simply walking the half mile to the commuter rail terminal to get in some steps before work.

    Public transit provides the foundation for this type of flexible mobility, giving Americans an unprecedented kind of transportation freedom, even when they’re navigating a city for the first time.

    Many public transportation systems are also working with tech-driven services to improve access to transportation for people in their areas. For example, transit systems in Boston, Florida’s Pinellas County (St. Petersburg and the surrounding area), and Salt Lake City are partnering with ride-hailing services to expand their reach. Many transit systems also now offer apps to making paying fares easier.

    Real-Time Data and Information-Sharing

    People on the go are also benefiting from real-time transportation data. People at home or work can see when the next bus or streetcar is arriving—and cut their wait times, as well as make their trips more efficient.

    Dozens of transit systems around the country make their transportation data freely available to anyone, so map apps can provide public transit as an option when showing available routes.

    For Everyone: Improved Transportation Experience and Impact

    Next-Generation Bus Technologies

    Buses are the primary public transportation in most American cities and towns. Many transit systems are retiring older buses and upgrading fleets with advanced vehicles, including:

    • Electric Buses—Electric buses emit no exhaust, and many transit systems also use hybrid-electric buses, which are cleaner and more fuel-efficient. Electric buses are also quieter than traditional diesel buses. Riders and non-riders alike benefit. Public transportation is already more efficient than single-passenger cars—and electric buses make transit even cleaner.
    • Alternative Fuel Buses—Though not as low-emission as electric buses, alternative fuel buses running on biodiesel or natural gas also help clear the air.
    • Traffic Signal PriorityThis technology allows buses to communicate with traffic signals to extend the length of a green light or shorten a red light to enable buses to pass more rapidly through intersections. This technology has long been available, but it is being added to buses in more locations to speed operations.

    Train Communications Systems

    Many transit systems are implementing automated train controls to replace or augment manual controls. The New York subway (MTA) recently added new Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) systems to Lines 7 and L, which now greatly outperform other lines. Baltimore is adding a CBTC system, due in 2021, and the Boston area’s MBTA will complete replacement of its older train control systems on its Orange and Red Lines in 2022.

    More Successful City Planning

    Transit agencies are also leveraging sophisticated data collection and analytic tools to optimize their systems to better meet residents’ needs. In Portland, Oregon, a group of government agencies is piloting the use of a sophisticated software system to gain a clearer picture of how people use different transportation options to move through the city. This will help the region develop a more effective transportation strategy for the years ahead.

    Getting Where We Want to Go

    The pace of innovation continues to accelerate, and we can expect continuing changes to our transportation networks. As just one example, autonomous vehicles could enable a whole range of new public transportation services, such as self-driven mini-buses for on-demand paratransit.

    Federal government investment will be critical to making transit improvements accessible to more people. The Internet itself arose from the federal government’s investment in communications and computing technology. The next transportation bill reauthorization is coming in 2020, and infrastructure legislation is among the key issues in the next federal election. Our community will be educating Congress about the need for funding to support transportation innovation that benefits our entire nation.
  • Clearing the Air with Public Transit

    It’s October—Halloween season!—so here’s a scary vision: America with no public transportation.

    It would be a lot harder—if not impossible—for millions of people to get around. Harder to get to work. Harder to get to school. Harder to get to the doctor. Harder to meet up with friends and family.

    Follow our blog and social media this month—and share with your friends and neighbors—as we explore just how scary things would be if our nation chose not to invest in public transit.

    Something in the Air

    Don’t like how polluted our air has become? It would be much worse without public transit. Growing banks of smog might loom over our cities like something out of a horror movie.

    Think we’re exaggerating? Consider this: Today, public transportation reduces the nation’s carbon footprint by 37 million metric tons annually. Without transit, we’d add the fumes of 4.2 billion gallons of gas to our air every year. That’s not just unsightly—it’s unhealthy.

    Transit is also healthier because it’s safer. Per mile, you’re 10 times more likely to be injured traveling by automobile than by public transportation.

    Getting Cleaner All the Time

    Public transit doesn’t just make our air cleaner by taking cars off the road. It’s also leading the way in the adoption of electric vehicles. Transit systems across the country are investing in zero-emission battery and fuel cell technology.

    Cases in point: The California State Transportation Agency is funding 285 zero-emission buses that will operate from San Diego all the way to Redding (about 120 miles south of the Oregon border). Washington, DC, is adding battery-powered buses to its line-up. And New York intends to transition its entire bus fleet to zero-emission vehicles in the coming years.

    Electric buses can also be found climbing the mountains around Salt Lake City, Utah; ferrying students on cold days in Worcester, Massachusetts; and bringing spectators out to Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby.

    Electric buses are making for healthier communities—and a healthier planet.

    Do You See Public Transit Making Your Local Community Cleaner and Healthier?

    Tell us—or show us—public transit helping clear the air in your area on the Voices for Public Transit website, Facebook page, or Twitter feed.
  • Late-Shift Workers Depend on Public Transit

    Every night, millions of Americans work the late shift.

    Nurses, doctors, and staff are on hand at hospitals through all hours. Cooks and waiters serve up warm meals at 24-hour restaurants. Road workers lay new pavement when the streets are quiet. 911 call center staff take emergency calls and mobilize responders. Hotel concierges greet guests arriving late after delayed flights. Maintenance staff make sure office buildings are ready for the next day.

    Countless others are on the job when most Americans are in bed. Late-Shift workers keep our local economies running in ways most of us don’t even think about until we need them.

    Every one of these late-night employees needs to get to work—and every operation they support needs to be sure they can get to work reliably. Job choices are much more limited for people who don’t have cars and can’t use public transit. And employers are more likely to deal with unexpected absences and higher turnover.

    It’s a problem Congress can do something about.

    Expanding Public Transit Means Expanding Job Opportunities—and Local Economies

    Industries with large shares of late-shift and weekend workers are expecting high job growth. That includes health care, construction, food service, education, and finance, just to name a few. Public transit can help make those jobs accessible to more people.

    The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) recently released a new study on this issue, “Supporting Late-Shift Workers: Their Transportation Needs and the Economy.” The study offers several solutions, but one point stands out: We need to increase public investment in local transit systems. Improved funding will help local systems expand service and provide more options for people who need access to public transit during late-night and weekend hours.

    Only Congress can provide increased federal funding.

    Do You Work a Late Shift or Know Someone Who Does?

    Please share how access to reliable transportation makes a difference for you on the Voices for Public Transit website, Facebook page, or Twitter feed.
  • Public Transit and Education Transform Communities

    Each one of the more than 20 million Americans in college and trade programs this fall are changing their lives through new knowledge, skills, and experiences. Changed lives means transformed communities. Public transit is a big part of making that transformation possible.

    Students from Dallas to Champaign or Knoxville to Seattle and thousands of other communities across the country enjoy affordable, safe, and reliable access to colleges and professional schools because public transit gets them there. Even better, many local public transit systems offer free or reduced fares to college and trade school students.

    Investing in public transit means investing in educational and career opportunities for millions of Americans.  It means helping veterans get back into the workforce when they finish their service; making it possible for single parents to increase their earning potential while juggling kids and multiple jobs; cutting down on the need for commuter students to face traffic and pay for car maintenance, insurance, and parking every day; and bringing more qualified workers into job fields like nursing and high-tech that are struggling to fill positions.

    Thousands of times a day public transit is taking people to places where their lives will be changed and where they will change lives—and entire communities—for the better. That’s a pretty powerful reason why public transportation benefits all of us, even if we don’t ride ourselves.

    Get Social

    Voices for Public Transit is a community of people passionate about bringing public transit to more communities and improving transportation for all Americans. We know public transit is as important to our future as education itself. Help us tell that story. Share your experience or what you see happening in your community on the Voices for Public Transit website, Facebook page or Twitter feed.
  • Think Outside the Box When It Comes to Mobility and Your Labor Day Weekend

    Voices for Public Transit is taking a virtual Tourism Transit Trek this Labor Day to highlight great ways to use public transportation as you travel the nation.

    Many travelers limit themselves to one type of mobility option when they travel! However, many cities provide multiple modes of transportation that can enhance anyone’s Labor Day as they travel to their ultimate destination.

    Get on a Boat

    Many regions offer ferry services that enable you to travel from one community to another. You can also ride a ferry just to see sights from the water. Great examples include:
    • The Staten Island Ferry—This 25-minute (one-way) ride offers great views of the Statue of Liberty and downtown skyscrapers.
    • Seattle-Bainbridge Ferry—Several ferries can be found in the Seattle area. Right from the heart of the city, you can catch a 30-minute ferry to Bainbridge for a great day trip. Amazing views abound.
    • Water Taxis—Many cities along waterways offer water taxis. Boston, Baltimore, Washington D.C., and Miami all offer water taxi services for local transportation and sightseeing.
    If you’ll be visiting a city near the water—rivers, bays, and lakes—explore online to find water transit services that will be a welcome addition to your trek.

    There’s an App for That!

    There are many apps that can help you quickly find a way to reach your destination. Check out the few below for inspiration.
    • Google Maps
    • TripGo
    • Citymapper
    • Moovit
    • Many regions offer online trip planners or even apps to help you combine public transportation options and get around. Just search the name of your destination city followed by the words “transit trip planner.”

    Get Social

    Many public transit systems and services—and their riders—use social media. When you get ready to travel, connect with local public transportation on Facebook and Twitter.

    And if you’re getting social with public transit, consider tagging or posting about your experience on the Voices for Public Transit Facebook and Twitter pages and let us know if you’re taking a #TransitTrek. Share your photos and tell us how you’re making public transportation part of your summer travels.
  • Come on our Summer Transit Trek!

    Millions of Americans are hitting the road this summer, and many are turning to public transportation to get them around these destinations. Join us as we embark on a Tourism Transit Trek across the nation!

    You can follow along and share how you use transit when you travel by joining the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

    Embracing Multi-Modal Transportation

    A lot us begin our summer vacation by loading up the car or heading to the airport. But once you get to your destination—whether it’s a big city, resort town, or National Park—you can see more, meet people, and relax by using public transportation.

    Here are just a few ideas for using public transportation on your summer vacation.

    • Beach Town Buses—Many American beach communities support tourism by offering free or low-cost bus or shuttle services. Public transit helps reduce traffic snarls and can make towns more walkable. Before you head to the beach, visit the tourism website of your destination town or region. Here’s another hint: You can often reach beach towns from cities using a regional bus service. Have you tried one of these bus services? Tell us about it here!
    • National Park Shuttles—Many National Parks are packed full of visitors all summer long. They suffer from road congestion and clogged parking lots. To address this problem, several National Parks now offer shuttle service. You can combine bicycling, walking, and bus-riding to see parks and help reduce the impact of cars. Have you visited a national park? Did you bike or take a sight-seeing bus? Tell us about it here!
    • Multi-modal Transportation—Driving and parking in a big, unfamiliar city can be a serious drag. Some cities offer day or week-long transit passes that let you use multiple forms of transportation. You can save money and sometimes travel faster by using buses, commuter trains, and light rail. Many cities now also have bike- and scooter-sharing, which provide another transportation option for visitors. Tell us about what type of transit you hopped on when you visited your summer destination!

    Where Have You Used Public Transit When You Travel?

    We want to hear from you. Share your travel transit tips and photos by posting on Facebook and Twitter and tagging us at #Voices4Transit.

  • We Did It!

    1,000+ Petition Signers
    3,700+ Emails to Congress
    126,600+ Reached on Social Media

    You made #GetOnBoard Day a success.

    Nationwide Action for Inaugural Get on Board Day

    Americans across the nation raised their voices on April 25 during the first-ever National Get On Board Day. People gathered in city squares for rallies, shared their support for #publictransit on social media, rode their local public transportation systems, and much more.

    Voices for Public Transit advocates also emailed their lawmakers to urge them to champion public transportation during upcoming infrastructure and transportation debates.

    Transit in Our Communities

    One highlight of National Get On Board Day was the strong participation of transit systems around the country. More than 250 systems, agencies, and supporting organizations participated in the event—from Alameda-Contra Costa Transit to Williamsburg Area Transit Authority and everywhere in between.

    Many transit systems rolled out the red carpet for citizens by offering free rides. We also saw systems host a health fair, offer yoga, and run a scavenger hunt. It all showcased how public transit brings communities together and improves citizens’ lives.

    What Happens Next?

    National Get On Board Day sent a powerful message to Capitol Hill. More members of Congress, especially those who are new to Congress, know Americans want increased funding for public transportation. Our job now is to make sure that message stays at the forefront.

    In the coming months, Congress will be able to demonstrate whether they’re truly listening. We’ll be watching—and we’ll be calling on Congress again to support mobility for all Americans by investing in public transportation.</i,g>

Read the archives