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16 May 2012

Will volatile fuel prices increase use of public transport? Or not?

First publishedon www.ITSInternational.com
A day after ITS International published details of a report from The Mobility Collaborative - $4 per gallon gas won't alter driving behaviour, claims national study - the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and Building America's Future (BAF) has released a study which draws the opposite conclusion and predicts that record numbers of Americans will turn to public transportation as a cost-cutting measure in the face of volatile fuel prices.

To meet this impending surge in demand, APTA and BAF are calling on Congress to pass a multi-year, fully funded surface transportation bill as the Senate and House begin Conference Committee negotiations. Their analysis used historical trends and independent research data to make predictions on the impact fuel prices would have on public transit ridership across the nation. It showed that on average, nationwide public transportation systems will add nearly 200 million new trips this year even as fuel prices fluctuate by as much as 50 cents per gallon.

For example, as fuel prices approached an average of $4 a gallon nationally this year, the analysis predicted an additional 290 million passenger trips could be expected on average for the year, resulting in more than 10.7 billion trips per year. Even as fuel prices drop to $3.75, the analysis predicted there would still be an additional 240 million passenger trips because of the volatile up and down nature of fuel prices.

A copy of the report can be found at www.apta.com.

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