This essay explores and supports the argument that decreasing the use of private cars and increasing the use of public transportation will significantly decrease congestion and air pollution and therefore increase quality of life in world cities.
Since man has acquired a need to get from Point A to Point B, man has attempted to find better and faster ways to do so, although not always to his long term benefit. From walking to riding, to carriages to horseless carriages, trains to planes, each of these leaps forward has certainly provided benefits however these leaps have also negatively impacted quality of life. The focus of this essay will briefly illustrate how the most widely used modern form of transportation, the automobile, has had the biggest effect on congestion and air pollution and how a switch to public transportation could make a tremendous improvement to quality of life.
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, in 2013 transportation contributed to more than half of the carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides, and almost a quarter of the hydrocarbons emitted into our air (“Cars, Trucks, and Air” 2014). The article goes on to state that cars and trucks account for over one-fifth of the United States’ total global warming pollution. This should be viewed as a frightening yet malleable statistic. While cars and trucks are a ubiquitous part of modern society, a shift to public transportation, could potentially decrease their usage.
Public transportation can be viewed as a better option for the environment, as opposed to using a private automobile every day. American Public Transportation states that if an individual switches from driving a 20-mile round-trip commute to using public transportation, CO2 emissions will decrease by 4,800 pounds per year (“Public Transportation Saves” 2009). Not only does public transportation have the potential to decrease air pollution, but could also reduce congestion in cities with the reduction of the number of vehicles on busy roadways.
In conclusion, while it may be difficult to envision giving up one’s car or truck, the long term benefits of making the switch to public transportation could provide a multitude of benefits, such as decreasing congestion and air pollution as well as increasing one’s overall quality of life.