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The Broader Connection Between Public Transportation, Energy Conservation, and Greenhouse Gas Reduction

This study found a significant correlation between transit availability and reduced automobile travel, independent of transit use.  This study began with the hypothesis that public transportation interacts with land use
patterns, changing travel patterns in neighborhoods served by transit. Importantly, this effect would apply not just to transit riders, who make an exchange of automobile use for transit, but also for people who do not use transit. These people, who live in places shaped by transit, would tend to drive less, reducing their overall petroleum use and their carbon footprint. In order to test this hypothesis, we began with a survey of the literature on the interaction of land use and travel patterns. The literature focuses on three major categories of influences on travel: land use/urban environment, socio-demographic factors, and cost of travel. For the purposes of this study, land use/urban environment variables were further broken down to include a separate category for transportation infrastructure.