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More public transit usage can significantly lessen cities' traffic death rates, according to a recent American Public Transportation Association (APTA) analysis.Conducted by APTA and advocacy group Vision Zero Network, the analysis showed that metro areas that log more than 40 annual transit trips per capita experience a traffic mortality rate that's 40 percent lower than in metro areas with 20 transit trips per capita.In terms of fatalities, the analysis also found that commuter- or intercity-rail travel is 18 times safer for passengers than auto travel.The connection between higher public transit use and lower traffic fatalities is especially strong in metro areas with populations over 2 million, the report states. For the 34 metro areas studied with more than 2 million residents, the statistical relationship is stronger than for areas with populations of 500,000 to 2 million residents."One of the most powerful traffic safety tools a city can employ to eliminate deaths and injuries due to road traffic crashes is its public transportation system," said APTA President and CEO Paul Skoutelas in a press release. "It takes just a modest increase in public transit use to result in a dramatic decrease in traffic fatalities."There were 37,461 deaths due to automobile crashes in 2016, marking a 5.6 percent increase over the prior year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.