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2504305009_5a63774e9d.jpgAn antiquated technology.
(Photo: eyermonkey
via Flickr)

As a couple of Streetsblog Network members,
including Seattle
Transit Blog
, have noted, today is "Dump
the Pump
" day, organized by the American Public
Transportation Association
. It's an annual event in its fifth year,
designed to give a little positive PR to the public transit sector. But
this time around, events in the Gulf of Mexico give it a new kind of

Over at NRDC
, here's what Deron Lovaas has to say (disclosure: NRDC
is a partner in the event):

While public transportation plays second fiddle to the auto whenit comes to mileage traveled in the U.S., it plays a crucial role in our metropolitan areas, the largest 100 of which host two-thirds of ourpopulation and most of our GDP. Regions across the country would begridlocked without it. It saves 300,000 barrels of oil a day, much morethan the Deepwater Horizon wreck has been spewing into the Gulf, and itcuts heat-trapping pollution by 37 million metric tons a year.

And it’s making a comeback this century, as we all come to gripsanew with the perils of our massive addiction to oil (we consume almost20 million barrels a day of the black stuff). From 1995-2008, whiletraffic on our roads grew 21 percent, transit ridership grew almosttwice that much (38 percent). And new

analysis from the Department of Transportation shows that withadequate investments ridership could rise faster, which when deployed as part of a comprehensive strategy to increase travel efficiencyincluding road pricing, intelligent transportation technology, morecompact land development and other measures could reduce greenhouse gasemissions by 5-17 percent by 2030.

In short, public transportation currently makes us more energysecure, and boosting its share of travel can and must be a key component in any strategy to drive our oil dependence down in the future. I hopeyou will join me in taking advantage of bus or train service in yourarea, and if you don’t have easy access I urge you to lobby your city,county and state to do a better job of providing it.

Here's our question to you: Has the Deepwater Horizon spill made
you or anyone you know reconsider their car commute? Do you feel any
differently about pumping gas? Could this be the thing that would make
you "dump the pump"? Or are there simply no other travel options in your
part of the world?

Bonus question: Do you think that sustainable transportation
advocates are making good use of the "teaching moment" that the Gulf
disaster potentially provides?

Let us know in the comments.

More from around the network: Hot-weather biking tips from in Louisville,
Kentucky. A report on Miami bike-sharing from Livin
in the Bike Lane
. And news of another online tool to help you
assess your street's walkability, from Andy
Nash Network

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