Saving money and carbon with public transportation in the US – top 20 cities

The American Public Transit Association(APTA) recently released its February Savings Report. The association releases a monthly savings report in order to analyze how much money the average two-person household can save by taking public transportation and using one less automobile. The average commuter is looking at a savings of more than $754 a month for the frugal individual.

Based on the cost of commuting via public transportation versus the cost of owning, maintaining and driving a vehicle, the association reports an annual savings of$9,052 for commuters who chose to use public transportation instead of private.

The savings calculations include the national average gas price as of February 17, 2016 ($1.71 per gallon according to AAA) and the unreserved monthly parking rate ($166.26 per month according to the 2012 Colliers International Parking Rate Study). The study is the most recent data available according to the APTA. This equates to an annual bill of $1,995.

Of the top 20 cities with the highest public transit ridership, these are ranked by the APTA according to the potential savings there based upon the purchase cost of a monthly public transit pass.

City Monthly Annual
1 New York $1,160 $13,926
2 San Francisco $1,029 $12,351
3 Boston $1,004 $12,046
4 Philadelphia $926 $11,115
5 Seattle $911 $10,930
6 Chicago $895 $10,736
7 Honolulu $891 $10,697
8 Los Angeles $875 $10,499
9 San Diego $828 $9,938
10 Portland $803 $9,635
11 Minneapolis $794 $9,529
12 Baltimore $779 $9,348
13 Denver $773 $9,278
14 Washington, DC $762 $9,148
15 Pittsburgh $744 $8,926
16 Cleveland $733 $8,797
17 Miami $716 $8,587
18 Atlanta $708 $8,494
19 Las Vegas $701 $8,417
20 Dallas $697 $8,362

The APTA calculates the price of public transit by determining the average price for a monthly pass for transit agencies across the country. The price of commuting privately is calculated using the AAA 2015 average cost of driving formula and data from the 2012 Colliers International Parking Rate Study. Based on variable (the cost of gas, maintenance and tires) and fixed (insurance, license registration, depreciation and finance charges) costs, the formula uses the average gas mileage at 23.1 miles per gallon and the price for self-serve regular unleaded gasoline as recorded by AAA in February. Assuming that a person will drive an average of 15,000 miles per year and that a person in a two-person household lives with one less car, the costs are then compared. saving

You too can calculate your individual savings by going to

If you live in one of these 20 metropolitan areas, you owe it to yourself to seriously consider the benefits of public transportation. The perks are not only financial but if what they say is true, and ‘money talks,’ this is the speech you need to hear.