Public Transit By the Numbers

The Big Numbers

  • 9.9 BILLION: The number of public transit trips taken by Americans in 2018.
  • 34 MILLION: The number of times people board public transit each weekday.
  • 6,800: The approximate number of systems and organizations providing public transit in the U.S.
  • 21%: Increase in public transportation ridership since 1997.
  • 45%: The percentage of Americans who have no access to public transportation.

Jobs, the Economy, and Savings

  • 50,000: The number of jobs supported or created by every $1 billion invested in public transit.
  • More than 448,000: The number of employees in the public transportation sector.
  • $5: The economic return on every $1 invested in public transportation.
  • 87%: The percentage of public transit trips that have a direct impact on the local economy.
  • 42%: The percentage that home values in areas located near high-frequency public transit outperformed those in other areas.
  • $10,000: The approximate amount a household can save annually by taking public transportation and living with one less car.


  • 10x: The factor per mile that traveling by public transportation is safer than traveling by car.
  • 90%: The approximate percentage by which a person can reduce the chance of being in an accident if they travel by public transportation rather than by car.

Environmental Benefits

  • 63 MILLION: The number of metric tons of carbon emissions reduced annually by communities that invest in public transportation.
  • 6 BILLION: The number of gallons of gas saved annually because of public transportation.

Public transportation is an economic and jobs engine—and that’s one of the strongest messages Voices for Public Transit can deliver to Congress and other officials. Here are just a few key figures:

  • Every $1 communities invest in public transportation generates approximately $5 in economic returns.
  • Every $1 billion invested in public transportation creates and supports approximately 50,000 jobs.
  • More than 448,000 people work in the public transportation sector.
  • The vast majority of public transportation trips—about 87%—have a direct impact on the local economy.

Public Transit Drives Commerce and Investment

Billions of dollars have been invested in business districts, residential communities, office buildings, and sports facilities along public transit service routes.

Many high-profile businesses have made access to public transit a key factor in their decisions to relocate their headquarters, bringing jobs to communities that are committed to public transit.

GE, McDonald’s, Weyerhaeuser, and Marriott Hotels all moved their headquarters to locations closer to public transportation. Amazon factored public transportation in when it selected Arlington, Virginia, as its new second headquarters. State Farm Insurance made a $600 million investment in Tempe, Arizona, with public transit access being a major factor in the company’s decision.

Businesses are recognizing public transit helps their balance sheet. It enables them to attract skilled employees, and proximity to public transit reduces employee absenteeism and turnover.

Household Economic Benefits

Public transit helps millions of people reach work and job training that improve their income and earning potential. Public transportation also helps homeowners and household budgets.

Notably, home values in areas located near high-frequency public transportation outperform—by 42%—values of homes without close access to public transit.

Public transportation can also enable households to save money—for retirement, a rainy day, or college—or put dollars back into the local economy. Households save about $10,000 annually by living with one less car and using public transportation.


Source: Public Transportation Facts