According to the American Public Transportation Association’s July Transit Savings Report , despite high gas prices and a slow economy Americans still have a way to reduce their transportation costs. Individuals who ride public transportation save, on average, $9,968 annually and $831 per month. These savings are based on the July 14, 2011 average national gas price ($3.66 per gallon- reported by AAA) and the national unreserved monthly parking rate.
Switching from driving to riding public transportation is a proven way for individuals to cut monthly and yearly transportation costs. Making the change to public transit today gives individuals the opportunity to lower their transportation costs, without sacrificing their freedom and mobility.
APTA releases this monthly Transit Savings Report to examine how an individual in a two-person household can save money by taking public transportation and living with one less car.
The national average for a monthly unreserved parking space in a downtown business district is $155.22, according to the 2011 Colliers International Parking Rate Study. Over the course of a year, parking costs for a vehicle can amount to an average of $1,862.64.
The top 20 cities with the highest transit ridership are ranked in order of their transit savings based on the purchase of a monthly public transit pass and factoring in local gas prices for July 14, 2011 and the local monthly unreserved parking rate.*
City Monthly Annual
1 New York $1,218 $14,618
2 Boston $1,130 $13,559
3 San Francisco $1,088 $13,060
4 Seattle $995 $11,936
5 Chicago $979 $11,744
6 Philadelphia $976 $11,717
7 Honolulu $939 $11,268
8 Los Angeles $893 $ 10,712
9 Minneapolis $890 $10,678
10 San Diego $864 $10,369
11 Portland $859 $10,312
12 Washington, D.C. $861 $10,333
13 Denver $857 $10,287
14 Baltimore $843 $ 10,113
15 Cleveland $828 $9,936
16 Miami 4802 $9,629
17 Dallas $789 $9,472
18 Atlanta $790 $9,480
19 Pittsburgh $779 $9,347
20 Las Vegas $763 $9,157
*Based on gasoline prices as reported by AAA on 7/14/11.
APTA calculates the average cost of taking public transit by determining the average monthly transit pass of local public transit agencies across the country. This information is based on the annual APTA fare collection survey and is weighted based on ridership (unlinked passenger trips). The assumption is that a person making a switch to public transportation would likely purchase an unlimited pass on the local transit agency, typically available on a monthly basis.
APTA then compares the average monthly transit fare to the average cost of driving. The cost of driving is calculated using the 2011 AAA average cost of driving formula. AAA cost of driving formula is based on variable costs and fixed costs. The variable costs include the cost of gas, maintenance and tires. The fixed costs include insurance, license registration, depreciation and finance charges. The comparison also uses the average mileage of a mid-size auto at 23.4 miles per gallon and the price for self-serve regular unleaded gasoline as recorded by AAA on July 14, 2011 at $3.66 per gallon. The analysis also assumes that a person will drive an average of 15,000 miles per year. The savings assume a person in two-person household lives with one less car.
In determining the cost of parking, APTA uses the data from the 2011 Colliers International Parking Rate Study for monthly unreserved parking rates for the United States.
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