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Are You “On Board” for Public Transportation?

April 25, 2019 is national “Get on Board” Day.

Get on Board Day, sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association, is a national awareness and advocacy day highlighting the many ways public transit provides economic, social, cultural, environmental, and safety benefits for all Americans. It's also the day you can learn what combination of public transportation options you are. Take the quiz to discover the real you!

So what exactly does it mean for you? Great question!

You already know public transit - like SEPTA - matters at three key levels: personally, for local communities, and for the nation as a whole. Together, those stories—the personal, community-wide, and national—make up the 1-2-3 of why public transit matters.

Strong mobility systems have public transportation as their backbone. Whether you ride public transportation or not, you reap the benefits every day! Here are just a few ways people personally benefit from public transit:

  • Easier Connectivity: Public transit moves more people in much less space than individual cars, which helps to keep traffic congestion lower. Whether it's to work or play, or everywhere in between, public transportation provides personal mobility and freedom for people from every walk of life. Access to public transportation gives people transportation options to get to work, go to school, visit friends, go to a doctor’s office, or explore someplace new.

  • Greater Safety: Public transit-oriented communities are five times safer than communities centered around vehicle transit. Better public transportation creates more compact development and integrated communities, which in turn reduces auto miles traveled and produces safer speeds in those areas.

  • Financial Benefits: The average household spends 16 cents of every dollar on transportation, with most of the money going toward buying and maintaining a car. Households that use transit and give up a car save nearly $10,000 annually. And living near public transportation can increase the value of your home.

  • Healthier Living: It’s easy to be more active when you use public transportation. Most riders walk to their stop or station, and many combine bicycling and transit. Traveling by public transportation is also 10 times safer per mile than traveling by car.

We also know the benefits of public transportation extend far beyond the individual. Here are just a few examples of why communities, not just individuals, should “Get on Board” with public transit:

  • Jobs: Every $1 billion invested in public transportation creates or supports approximately 50,000 jobs.

  • Economic and Community Development: Public transportation attracts business investment, builds tax revenue, and fosters affordable housing. Did you know that 70% of public funding for public transportation reaches the private sector? That figure alone should convince communities off all sizes to “Get on Board” when it comes to public transportation.

  • Public Health: Public transportation supports healthy communities. We’re not just talking about the public transit riders that get exercise by walking to their stop or station. Public transportation provides a critical link to hospitals and medical centers so people can access healthcare—especially preventative care. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends expanding public transportation because of its contribution to public health.

  • Quality of Life: Public transportation reduces traffic and air pollution, gives people more flexibility and access, and brings folks together so members of the community feel more connected.

When you get right down to it, building out public transportation is a matter of national importance. Public transit matters to individuals and communities. It must also matter to the nation if we are to achieve the kind of mobility people want and need in the 21st century. A strong multi-modal transportation system, with public transportation as the backbone, allows people to thrive and commerce traffic, and the business of our nation to flow smoothly. For example:

  • Creating Jobs and Powering the Economy: Investing in public transportation creates jobs and serves as an economic catalyst. Every $1 billion invested in public transportation supports or creates more than 50,000 jobs. Transit projects also attract business investment and community development.

  • Fighting Poverty: Access to transportation is the single-most significant factor in enabling people to break the cycle of poverty. Public transportation helps more people access jobs and education, and gives them greater self-reliance.

  • Promoting Public Health: Every year, transportation barriers prevent millions of people from accessing medical care. A greater investment in public transit can help close the transportation gap that limits access to healthcare. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) supports investment in public transportation because of its contribution to public health.

  • Congestion: We also need public transportation to reduce traffic congestion. It’s no fun to be stuck in traffic, and it costs our nation more than $300 billion annually. A renewed national commitment to public transportation will help fight this rising cost.

  • Cleaner Air: In the context of the national conversation around reducing carbon emissions, taking more cars off the road should be a key part of the solution, and that’s something public transit does better than anything else.

The easiest way to be part of “Get on Board” Day is literally to get on board. Show your support by riding SEPTA not just on Thursday, April 25 - but every day! Even better - post photos or short videos of SEPTA in action in your community on our Instagram page or Twitter using the hashtags #ISEPTAPHILLY and #GetOnBoard! And don't forget, your SEPTA Key card or SEPTA Pass comes with Perks including discounts on food, drink, museums, sports, shops and more!

PS. Did you know everyone is a combination of two kinds of public transportation. Find out which you are by taking the Get on Board quiz: https://bzfd.it/2vluv9y!

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