June 15th, 2017 marks the 12th annual national Dump the Pump Day, an opportunity for more riders – or potential riders – to leave their car at home and explore commuting alternatives.
For many of us, especially those who work in public transit or city planning, every day is Dump the Pump day. We walk, we cycle, we ride transit – and yes, we occasionally drive. But for many more Americans, Dump the Pump Day is a chance to see what life can be like when your world does not revolve around your car.
There are many compelling arguments you can use to convince your communities to dump the pump. The benefits of forgoing your car for public transit or other shared mobility services are profound. Let’s start with money, the environment, and our waistlines.
Financial Reasons to Dump the Pump
– According to the American Public Transit Association, a two-person household can save an average of $9,797 annually by downsizing to one car.
– From a public financing perspective, every dollar spent on public transit generates approximately $4 in economic returns.
Environmental Reasons to Dump the Pump
– Each year, public transit riders reduce our nation’s carbon footprint by 37 million metric tons. To put that into perspective, an equivalent savings would be achieved if the cities of New York, Washington DC, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Denver stopped using electricity.
– If you have a 20-mile roundtrip commute, taking public transit instead of driving will reduce your annual carbon emissions by 4,800 pounds.
– Eliminating a second car can reduce your household carbon emissions by 10-30 percent each year.
Personal Health Reasons to Dump the Pump
– A recent study by the University of Illinois found that increasing public transit use in a given community by only 1% will lower the obesity rate by 0.2%.
– Individuals who use public transportation get over three times the amount of physical activity per day than those who don’t (approximately 19 minutes, as opposed to six) by walking to stops and final destinations.
– Bus-related accidents have one-twentieth the passenger fatality rates of automobile travel.
The goal behind Dump the Pump day is not to force anyone to ride transit or to punish oil companies. The underlying idea is to promote awareness of other commuting options and give individuals the opportunity to see the positive financial, ecological and health impacts of less driving – if only for one day. By promoting Dump the Pump day in your community and encouraging potential riders to try transit, everybody benefits.