Transit is essential to creating a more just, joyful, and sustainable world.
When transit serves us as it should, our everyday lives are better and our future is more secure.
The Effects of Transit
Transportation touches every aspect of our lives.
It impacts where we can live, where we can work, the friends we can connect with, where we can attend school, the grocery stores we can shop at, the clinics we can access, and more. Transportation impacts every corner of our society and economy: it impacts people’s health, housing affordability, our natural areas, the viability of local businesses, and our climate.
Transit reduces climate pollution and builds climate resilience. Vehicle transportation is the largest source of climate pollution in Minnesota and the U.S. To protect the people and places we love, we need bold transportation change. Transit reduces our dependence on harmful fossil fuels, protects vulnerable lands and water, and gets us closer to ending the climate crisis we’re all facing.
Transit creates more opportunity for the communities of color who rely on it. For decades, bad transportation projects have divided people, deepened disparities, and done lasting harm in communities of color. Today, forty-four percent of transit riders are people of color. In our economically- and racially-segregated cities and state, transit access is critical to addressing our longest-standing inequities and ensuring needs in communities of color are fully and fairly met.
Children & Education
Transit helps reduce disparities in access to education and enrichment. Kids without transportation options can’t participate in valuable before- or after-school programming. Inadequate transit can also put colleges and training programs out of reach. Parents who don’t have reliable and fast transit are forced to spend more time away from their children and families. Quality transit service improves the social wellbeing of children and families through access to opportunity, childcare, and social connections.
Jobs & Economy
Good transit expands job access where it’s needed most. In the Twin Cities metro area, only a small fraction of jobs are reachable by transit in 60 minutes. That puts good job opportunities totally out of reach for people who don’t own a car. A strong transit system connects more people to jobs and helps employers attract and retain a strong workforce. Building, maintaining, and operating transit creates jobs too.
Good transit helps keep people out of poverty. Commuting time is the single strongest factor in the odds of escaping poverty. Because cars are so expensive, transportation costs are among the biggest drains on household budgets—especially for people with low-incomes. Transit that is reliable, efficient, and affordable significantly reduces those burdens and improves financial security and quality of life. An unlimited Metro Transit pass costs the average user just one sixth (1/6) the cost of owning a car—this means transit leaves money in our communities for local investment and family stability.
Transit ensures people of all abilities can lead their best lives. When all of us can get around, it shows all of us are valued. For people with disabilities, transit is an essential service. It provides access to work, to get an education, to visit with family and friends, to be independent. When transit is lacking and streets are inaccessible, getting around becomes a barrier that makes all this harder, and at times impossible.
Housing Affordability & Access
Transit helps housing and neighborhoods stay affordable. The system we have today forces people to choose between cheap housing and expensive car costs—or affordable transit and expensive housing. Building parking also adds substantially to housing costs. We need affordable housing in locations where it’s possible to live and get around affordably. When our transit system works better, these costs can be avoided and the cost of housing goes down.
Transit protects the air we breathe. Car traffic creates air pollution that causes asthma and a host of other health problems, killing 100,000+ Americans every year. In Minnesota and around the country, people of color and people with low-incomes are disproportionately suffering the consequences. Transit helps reduce this harmful pollution by removing cars from the road. Transit also provides affordable access to health care services.
Transit is fundamental to our democracy. Our buses, trains, streets, and sidewalks are public spaces—they belong to all of us. They impact—not merely reflect—society’s dedication to key American values of justice, fairness, the ability to vote, and the right to speak truth to power. They are where we protest, where we gather. Inequitable transit systems undermine the promise of an America that delivers equitable opportunity to all.
Everybody has to move. I’m a mother with aging parents. More investment in walking, bicycling, and transit would change what’s possible for people in my family. We value independence, accessibility, and taking care of our bodies and our planet. That’s why I fight for a transportation system that works for everyone.Toni W.
Saint Paul Resident
Transit impacts all of us—and there are so many reasons to fight for a better system.
Why does transit matter to you?