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Transit saved 865 million hours of traffic congestion in 2011, TTI report says

Public transportation helped reduce traffic congestion by saving 865 million hours of travel on the nation's highways, according to the Texas Transportation Institute's (TTI) 2012 Urban Mobility Report.

Released yesterday, the report examined road congestion in 498 U.S. cities in 2011. TTI found that had there not been public transportation service available in the areas studied, congestion costs for 2011 would have risen to $142 billion, up from $121 billion in the previous year. Plus, an additional 450 million gallons of fuel would have been consumed.

"This report demonstrates how important public transportation is, not only as one of the solutions to reduce traffic congestion, but also in reducing fuel use and travel delays," said American Public Transportation Association President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Melaniphy in a prepared statement.

Public transportation's impact on the economy includes job creation and helping people get to work, Melaniphy noted. For every $1 billion invested in public transportation, 36,000 jobs are created, and nearly 60 percent of all trips on public transportation involve travel to and from work, he said.

The report includes charts that demonstrate the hours of delay and congestion costs that public transportation saved according to individual urban areas. The top five urban areas in terms of hours saved and congestion cost savings were New York City-Newark, N.J.; Chicago; Boston; San Francisco-Oakland; and Washington, D.C.

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