Report: Using public transportation can keep you fit and possibly lengthen your lifespan

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The report also noted that public transportation could help lower someone's risk in five of the 10 leading causes of reduced lifespan, as listed by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), which includes cancer, heart disease, and motor vehicle crashes. Todd Litman of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, who conducted this study for APTA, wrote, "Pollution contributes to cancer and congenital anomalies [birth defects], and sedentary living ... contributes to heart disease and strokes."

In his research, Litman found significantly less traffic-related fatalities in cities where public transit is more commonly used: Fatalities due to auto accidents is four per 100,000 residents in the Bronx, New York, while in Miami, Kansas, where cars are the main mode of transport, the rate is 40 per 100,000.

Litman believes that the aforementioned health benefits should be highly regarded in transportation planning, writing that, "A growing portion of households want to rely more on alternative modes and live in more accessible, multi-modal communities. Accommodating this demand would provide benefits to users and society, including significant health benefits."

In conclusion, public transit benefits our health, safety, and environment; more public transportation networks in cities could lend to an overall healthier planet.

Information via Autoblog Green; photo by Chris Metcalf via Flickr.

The use of public transportation could have more positive aspects than we may think. Besides abating carbon emissions in the atmosphere and reducing the use of gasoline, utilizing public transportation can benefit people themselves by keeping them healthier and decreasing mortality rates.

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) recently released a new report, "Evaluating Public Transportation Health Benefits", where they surveyed recent studies and came to the conclusion that "smart growth", transit-oriented communities enjoy more health benefits than automobile-dependent communities.

"Public transportation enhances the overall quality of life of an individual and a community," said APTA president William Millar. "Use of public transit simply means that you walk more which increases fitness levels and leads to healthier citizens. More importantly, increasing use of public transit may be the most effective traffic safety counter measure a community can employ."

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