Reasons for adopting a "low car" lifestyle

April 28, 2009 4:15:35 PM PDT
The administrative director and chief of staff for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, Debra Johnson says adopting a "low car lifestyle" is good for the health of our families and our planet.

The Bay Area is one of the most beautiful and dynamic regions in California, if not the country.

This month, four Bay Area transit agencies launched a truly regional campaign, "Healthier Planet, Healthier You," because San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency recognizes that people regularly travel throughout the Bay Area to take advantage of all that it has to offer.

Transit can be a healthy part of your life and contributes to the overall health of our environment. By leaving your car at home, you reduce greenhouse gases, congestion and our reliance on fossil fuels. Also, public transportation is shown to improve personal health by fostering healthy walking and bicycling habits.

The campaign for a "Healthier Planet, Healthier You" is reinforced by an inter-agency supported website, www.healthierplanethealthieryou.com.

The Web site features on its home page a transit finder and a transit calculator to help Bay Area residents get from point A to point B on transit easily and to help them understand how transit can also be healthful to their pocketbooks.

Public transportation systems take their commitment to the environment seriously and are investing in environmentally friendly vehicles such as diesel electric hybrids, which are up to 40 percent more fuel efficient than conventional diesel buses.

In San Francisco, we are fortunate to have one of the greenest fleets in country and the greenest in the state of California. Our streetcars, cable cars and trolley buses all operate on hydro-electric power and our regular buses all operate on biodiesel. We have 86 biodiesel-electric hybrids.

In 2008, more than 10 billion trips were taken on public transportation, the highest level in more than 50 years. San Francisco's Municipal Railway regularly sees over 200 million trips taken on our buses, light rail, streetcars and cable cars each year.

Facts from the campaign Web site (source: APTA):

  • If an individual switches a 20-mile round-trip commute to public transportation, that person's CO2 emissions will fall by 4,800 pounds per year, which is equal to a reduction in a two-car household's carbon footprint of 10 percent.

  • Americans living in areas served by public transportation save 541 million hours in travel time and 340 million gallons of fuel annually.

  • By reducing smog-producing pollutants, greenhouse gases and by conserving ecologically sensitive lands and open spaces -- public transportation is helping to meet national air quality standards.

  • Public transportation fosters a more active lifestyle, encouraging more people to walk, bike and jog to transit stops. An analysis of 2001 National Household Travel Survey data of transit users finds that walking to and from transit helps inactive persons attain a significant portion of the recommended minimum daily exercise they need.


  • Load Comments