Public transportation plays a very significant role in the economies of all the nations in the world whether it is a super power or a third world country. The ease of movement of people and good from one place to another within the expected time ensures that the economy keeps on growing. Developing countries create two thirds of the total population in the world. Most of the people in these countries live below a dollar a day and cannot afford to purchase means of transportation like the vehicles, airplanes and ships thus the public transport plays a very important role in their lives. The differences in incomes and the GDPs greatly affect the no of vehicle privately owned and the total coverage of the public transport systems. The more the economic capability of a government the better the public transport systems and vice vasa (Bunting, 4).
The availability of public transport significantly affects a country’s economy. With all factors considered, these are the factors affected by availability of public transport:
Job Accessibility and production
For a country to develop, it must have a running economy. The economy can only develop if employers have access to a large workforce that is able to report to work in time and in an affordable way. These sentiments extend to the raw materials and finished products because a finished product should be able to reach the market in time while the raw product should be able to reach the factory in time (Bunting, 12). This will ensure that there is efficiency in production and marketing of the products.
Availability and accessibility of public transport has allowed employers to have the best workforce as the quality and qualifications of the employees they hire aren’t restricted to their geographical area. This improves a country’s economy as they will have the best employees in production and service companies thus maximizing profits (Bunting, 14).
Availability and reliability of the public transport systems have significantly helped in production and marketing of finished goods by companies around the world. An extended network of good public railways has enabled companies to move bulky products that cannot be relocated by road or air and on the other hand the availability of public airplane companies has made it affordable for companies dealing with perishable products like flowers to reach their markets in time thus reducing losses (Bunting, 15). This helps in boosting the economy because when companies export products to other countries using public rail, road and air the government earn the foreign currencies in form of taxes that they can used to trade thus building the economy (Bunting, 16).
Infrastructures and Transportation Costs
Public transport reduces congestion on the roads thus reducing traffic jam that lead to lose of a lot of time. The amount of time wasted in traffic jams has a negative effect on the economy as most of the people waste a lot of productive time that would have been used in doing something that is economically viable thus affecting the economy negatively (Bunting, 20). Secondly, the availability and access to public transportation has saved on fuel around the world thus reducing the amount of money Governments use in importation of fuel thus boosting the economy. If everyone in a country owned a vehicle then the congestion levels on the roads would be intense thus leading to time and fuel wastage. Taking a case study of the USA, their latest research in 2011 revealed that public transportation use by its entire citizen population saved 865 million hour in travel time and 1703.43 million liters of fuel in 498 towns around the country. It was then discovered that without public transportation the costs due to congestion would have risen by $21 billion thus elevating to $142 billion from $121 billion (Liu and Cirillo, 206). This shows how the well developed and reliable transport system has managed to reduce the cost of transportation in 498 towns thus improving the economy.
Availability of public transport has saved on the cost on infrastructure in many governments around the world. Depending on how accessible and reliable the public transport is most of the people around the world will be enticed to use them because they are affordable (Liu and Cirillo, 210). When people leave their cars at home to use the public transport system because it’s available, reliable and accessible the Government saves on the money used to pave the roads, build the roads and maintaining them. This money can then be used to supplement other projects that help in building the economy like education. The use of fewer vehicles per unit time on the roads will reduce on the wear and tear thus reducing the coast of maintenance (Liu and Cirillo, 210).
Investment and Job Creation
Availability of public transport creates an avenue for job creation for most of the people around the world. For example, the bud drivers, pilots, train drivers, road engineers, road and airport security etc. In the developed countries, the public transport system is one of the main sectors considered to be for creating most of the jobs to the people in the country. In the USA states the public transportation system employs over 400,000 employees directly and many more hundreds of thousands indirectly (Bunting, 21). The transportation system is so significant that in most governments it has its own ministry. With the public transport system offering employment opportunities to so many people, it raises the living standards of the employees thus making them more capable to do more in the society thus boosting the country’s economy (Bunting, 22).
Around the world investors tend to invest in places with good public transportation systems. The main reason for most of the investors establishing their businesses in these places is because good public transportation improves accessibility to the businesses thus ensuring maximum sales and production. Other investors consider a good network of public transport as a factor when considering where to pump in their money because good and reliable public systems cuts on the cost of transporting their products by at least 20% (Bunting, 25). Therefore the countries with highly developed public transport systems tend to get more foreign investors than countries with poor or undeveloped public transport systems thus leading to faster economic growth for countries with a good network of public transport system (Bunting, 26).
There is an increasing worry on global warming. Activists and scientists advocate for methods and ways that reduce carbon emissions around the world. Development of public transportation network in the developed countries like the USA has reduced the national carbon emission rates by 37 million metric tons per year. Further research has revealed that when a citizen switches his mode of transport to public transportation, he/she reduces the household’s carbon emissions by 10% (Liu and Cirillo, 215). These facts prove to be very significant when a nation is trying to attract investors or companies that are going green in this era (Liu and Cirillo, 220). This again gives the countries with better public transport systems a better chance of landing more investors than those with poor public transport systems thus boosting the economy of their countries.
In conclusion the public transport system plays a vital role for the development of a country because it’s the main mode of transportation for the middle class and the poor. These two populations form the largest portion of the total population of the world. Therefore this means that they also form the larger part of the workforce hence it’s important to ensure they get a reliable and accessible transport system that will ensure they work thus boosting the economy of their country.
- Bunting, M. (2004). Making Public Transport Work. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.
- Liu, Y. and Cirillo, C. (2014). Measuring transit service impacts on vehicle ownership and use. Public Transport, 7(2), pp. 203-222.