We all know driving creates pollution. The latest proposal to fast-track a new Tappan Zee Bridge does not include funding for any new public transit on the new crossing.
Below, we take simple look at the impact on local air quality of NOT putting more people into public transit.
The New York State Department of Transportation reports that annual trips across the TZB have been rising steadily in recent years, reaching 134,947 AADT (two way Average Annual Daily Traffic) for 2010. This volume makes the TZB the third busiest bridge in the entire state.
Let’s ignore where a driver will start or end her commute over the Tappan Zee Bridge. Let’s just examine what pollution occurs during the drive over span of the bridge alone.
Over the course of 250 annual roundtrips, each solo commuter passing over the 3.03 mile bridge span itself will emit one half metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent exhaust (1164 pounds or 0.53 metric tons of CO2e).
This emission assumes a fuel efficiency of 25 miles per gallon per car, which is above average for passenger vehicles on the road today.
If that commuter rides a bus instead over the bridge, her commute’s contribution to local air pollution drops 93% to three-tenths of a metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent exhaust (75 pounds or 0.03 metric tons of CO2e).
The dramatically lower emission for public transit assumes 55 passengers on a diesel bus that gets 6.0 miles per gallon.
So, in short, if you ride Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) over the new TZB all year– instead of driving yourself–you will lower your annual pollution contribution by 1,088 pounds just for the bridge’s 3 miles.
For every added mile you can switch from solo car to bus, you save another 360 pounds. If you ride the bus from a commuter lot in Nyack to Tarrytown’s MTA station, about 6 miles, you would cut your personal contribution to local air pollution by 2,178 pounds per year.
Robin Urban Smith at StreetFilms has a good short, new video on why we need BRT on the TZB.
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